While Christmas was yesterday, I consider today the end of the holiday as it’s when I started to see Christmas trees ready for recycling. While running today, I saw a number of trees at a local drop off facility. This seems like such a waste to me; forget the environmental impact (I’ll get to that later), but if you went to the effort of finding a tree, lugging it home, putting decorations on it, and putting gifts under it, wouldn’t you at least want to keep it for a few more days? I wonder if some people took the tree down right after the gifts were removed from beneath it?
In our local paper today, there was an article about recycling Christmas trees where Environmental Services Program Director Lynne France of Chula Vista said:
Christmas trees are not as environmentally horrible as everyone thinks, because they are plantation grown for the purpose of being a Christmas tree. It’s not like they are cutting down old-growth forests to give you a Christmas tree.
Is she really that clueless or did that just make for a good quote? The cutting down of the trees isn’t the only environmental impact. Consider that the trees are cut down (primarily) with chainsaws or other motorized equipment which burn fuel and contribute more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Then the trees are trucked from where they are grown/chopped down to Christmas tree lots which could be pretty far away. Then people drive to the lots to pick up the trees. After they’re done with the trees, people either drive to dispose of them or have them picked up (for single family houses in the city of San Diego, those with trees can leave them at the curb and they’ll be picked up with other green waste which shouldn’t cause the Environmental Services folks to have to make another trip), then motorized equipment (chippers) are used to convert the trees into mulch. So, if you think that there is little environmental impact from the trees just because they were grown specifically for the purpose of being Christmas trees, you’re clearly mistaken.