Don’t feel guilty about buying a real Christmas tree

(KOMO file photo)

So what will it be - a cut tree or a fake one? It turns out that when it comes to the environment, a real Christmas tree is often better than a fake one.

"A cut tree is much better for the environment because it provides carbon storage and habitat for many years while it's growing,” said Darcy Batura, with the Nature Conservancy of Washington. “Once you're done with a cut tree, it gives back to the earth – it's usually chipped and then composted, so it feeds the soil for many years to come."

On the other hand, it takes a lot of energy to produce and ship artificial trees. Ninety percent of them come from China.

"Once families are done with their artificial trees – on average about six years – they go into the landfill where they will sit for centuries,” Batura said.

If you need to have an artificial tree for some reason, try to use it as many years as possible before you get rid of it.

Don’t forget: You can go to any US Forest Service office and get a permit for only $5 to cut your own tree. By doing this, you're actually helping to the forest, which is a good thing.

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