A natural Christmas tree may have more than just smell on its side — it also emits fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than an artificial one, a new study has found.
Sustainable development firm ellipsos inc. conducted an independent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that concluded natural Christmas trees generate 3.1 kg of GHG emissions per year, compared to 8.1 kg of GHGs emitted by artificial ones.
Jean-Sébastien Trudel, president of ellipsos and co-author of the study, said the findings challenge the common belief that artificial trees are better because they can be reused year after year.
The LCA method considers the tree’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials to what happens to the tree after it’s used.
The LCA follows the recognized ISO 14040 and 14044 standards and was reviewed by an independent third-party of peers.
An artificial tree has to be reused for at least 20 years before it can have the same environmental effect as a natural one. But on average, artificial trees are only kept for six years, the study said.
Trudel said the difference in GHG emissions between the two types of trees is insignificant compared to bigger polluters, like vehicles.
He pointed out that one could offset the carbon emissions of either tree by carpooling or biking to work just one to three days a year.
The study is available online at:
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