Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Reader Response: Real vs Artificial Christmas Trees

Ruben Holthuijsen / Flickr

Many Americans opt for fake trees like this one during the holiday season.

Here’s a little known fact: fake Christmas trees were invented to help the environment. The first artificial trees were created in Germany in the 19th century. Made of goose feathers painted green, the trees were intended to prevent deforestation, according to researcher James Hewitt.  These days trees are made of metal and plastic and shipped in from China, prompting a lot of people to worry about their environmental impact.

Last week we reported on a recent study that said those concerns were overblown. Although, a lot can be done to lessen the impact of either fake or real trees, the reality is that either of the two options has less of an environmental impact than the typical daily actions of someone in the United States. The study says, “The impact of the tree life cycle, for all scenarios, is less than 0.1% of a person’s annual carbon footprint and therefore is negligible within the context of the average American’s lifestyle.”

A lot of you had problems with the study or were looking for more information. We decided to follow up with some of your burning questions. Here’s a look at your responses to the “settled” debate about the impact of holiday trees.





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