Real Winter Solstice Holiday Trees Better for the Environment Than Artificial Ones

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At least, that's according to a study reported by Terra Daily:

A Canadian sustainable energy company in Montreal says real Christmas trees have less of an environmental impact than reusable artificial trees.

The company, which uses no capitals in its name, ellipsos inc., said its analysis in a Life Cycle Assessment found real trees generate 6.8 pounds of greenhouse gases compared with 17.8 pounds for an artificial tree per year.

"The results are astonishing", ellipsos President Jean-Sebastien Trudel said in a release. "Considering that the artificial tree is reusable for many years, one would think that this choice is best since the natural tree requires annual trips to purchase it."

Research process factors ranged from the extraction of raw materials to travel to marketing and purchase to disposal, the company said.

The study found an artificial tree would need to be kept for at least 20 years to be equivalent to a real tree, although consumers keep an artificial tree for six years on average, the report said.

Of course, a truly "green" person will mimic Ebenezer Scrooge and forego not only real and artificial trees, but also the orgy of eating, economic stimulus boosting, and other ecologically damaging festivities that go along with various winter solstice holiday celebrations. 

Disclosure: My wife and I buy and decorate a real winter solstice bush each year. We do recycle our decorations. 

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  1. Okay, I’ll bite: You don’t to use the “C-word” to describe your Festivus holiday, Ron?

  2. Err … “You don’t LIKE to use the ‘C-word'” …

  3. I think he recently commented that the Wiccan Rede was a good summary of libertarian philosophy too.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. But how do the real and artificial trees compare to the Festivus pole???

  5. I’ve also gone to “Winter Solstice Bush”. Blame it on FOX. The Christians have totally destroyed the meaning of Christmas.

  6. I give the wifes winter solstice bush a pearl garland every year – whether she wants it or not.

  7. You don’t to use the “C-word” to describe your Festivus holiday, Ron?

    Merry Cuntday, one and all!

  8. “The study found an artificial tree would need to be kept for at least 20 years to be equivalent to a real tree”

    Whew! Made it to 20 years this year. Still pining for one of the 60’s silver tinsel ones with the colorchanging light splashed all over it.

  9. “Merry Cuntday, one and all!”

    I hope that holiday is all about giving too!

  10. I used to buy a small, potted evergreen and decorate it up for Yule. Then I undecorated it, kept it ’round, and planted it in spring. I’m too lazy for all that now.

  11. Merry Cuntday, one and all!

    Isn’t every day Cuntday?

  12. The company, which uses no capitals in its name, ellipsos inc.,

    Because lower-case letters have a smaller carbon footprint?

    Of course, a truly “green” person will . . .

    Put a bullet in their head?

  13. Every day is Cuntday if you keep the Cuntday spirit in your heart, Epi.

  14. Do you mean you reuse your ornaments?

    Or do you actually recycle them every year?

    reduce > reuse > recycle > restore

  15. Every day is Cuntday if you keep the Cuntday spirit in your heart, Epi.

    Oh, I do.

    “I’m dreaming of a White Cuntday…just like the ones I used to know…”

  16. Pink, not white, you necrophiliac.

    (Why isn’t the word necrophile?)

  17. Wow, Epi, your song makes me think of Kwaanza in a whole new light.

  18. Wow, the debate went from the proper nomenclature for the winter holidays to necrophilia in just 17 posts. Impressive.

  19. I’m a racist necrophiliac. You’re both correct!

    Charlie: Is it racist if we don’t eat this guy?

    Dee: Well, shit, Charlie. Now it is!

  20. necrophilia is everywhere man, you just need to dig around a little…

  21. Of course, these life cycle analysis are mostly garbage because they are based not on direct measurement but rather models stuffed full of subjective assumptions. For example, such models tend treat human muscle labor as environmentally neutral or positive even through its trivial to show that it is not.

    The best indicator of overall energy use, and thus environmental impact, is price. Most price components boil down to energy use so something that cost more, usually takes more energy overall.

    Yet another example of why most “environmental” ideas backfire in the long run.

  22. Since we’ve destroyed this thread anyway, I’m going to recommend this film. It has possibly the greatest, most ridiculous ending in movie history.

  23. Epi, know who’s cool enough to have a Nekromantix album? The guy with two thumbs, that’s who.

    Seriously tohugh, why do we say pedophile and necrophiliac instead of pedophiliac and necrophile?

  24. joe: Good point – we *reuse* our ornaments, although my wife is taking some we don’t want to the Salvation Army this week. That would count as recycling, yes?

  25. The company, which uses no capitals in its name…

    What kind of goofball company would do that?

  26. Great, Bailey’s shilling for Big Solstice.

  27. Io, Saturnalia!

  28. Of course, a truly “green” person will . . .

    Put a bullet in their head?

    And release all those pesky chemicals into the environment? Nah, they just provoke large bears or fling themselves into river-filled canyons. The hemp clothing should degrade in a couple years or so.

    Recycle!

  29. necrophilia is everywhere man, you just need to dig around a little…

    Winner at 11:35

  30. But how do the real and artificial trees compare to the Festivus pole???

    The poles are OK, but it’s the airing of grievances that really gets the CO2 flowing.

  31. Ron,

    I’d call that reusing. You’re giving them to other people to reuse as is, not extracting the materials of waste products to produce a new good.

    Very generous of you, and also more green. You get TWO sloppy joe kisses.

  32. The company, which uses no capitals in its name…

    What kind of goofball company would do that?

    Well, they aren’t capitalists, that much is for sure.

  33. RCD: LOL. Happy Winter Solstice to you!

  34. It’s probably too late to save this thread but FWIW…

    Last year in San Diego we went to buy a tree. The guy at the lot informs me that most of his trees came from Tennessee. Tennessee? Really? You can’t find anyplace closer to grow a fucking tree?

    This year I got a beautiful fake tree. I expect it to last me forever. Tell me again which one is better for the environment?

  35. People keep their artificial trees for an average of only six years? That sounds as improbable as the future extinction of repair guys.

    Maybe I’m cheap, but if I had a fake tree, I’d expect that sucker to last the rest of my life. It only sees a couple of week’s duty a year, for pete’s sake.

  36. People keep their artificial trees for an average of only six years?

    Sounds about right to me. Unless you can store it fully assembled and spread out, the process of taking it down and putting it back up again causes wear and tear, and they start looking a little shabby.

  37. Happy Winter Solstice to you!

    Back atcha, Ron, you godless heathen, you.

  38. “Nah, they just provoke large bears or fling themselves into river-filled canyons.”

    I’m glad I’m not the only one whose seen those two movies and found them to be hilarious.

    Back to the topic, we cut our Christmas/Pagan tree down ourselves from a tree farm a few miles away (suck it down cosmotards–the semi-rural midwest is awesome!). When I get my own property, I’ll be growing my own trees of course.

  39. The company, which uses no capitals in its name, ellipsos inc., said its analysis in a Life Cycle Assessment found real trees generate 6.8 pounds of greenhouse gases compared with 17.8 pounds for an artificial tree per year.

    Where are they getting this number? Since a tree is essentially a carbon fixing device, there should be a net negative release of carbon to the atmosphere during the life of the tree (okay, neglecting fuel burned to support planting and caring for the tree).

    However, since wood is approximately 50% carbon by weight, and a good “holiday” tree is about 40 lbm, there is about 20 lbm of carbon in a given tree. Burn that tree at the end of the season, and you will generate about
    20 lbm * 44/12 = 73 lbm of carbon dioxide. Even just allowing it to decompose will eventually release this amount of CO2 through respiration of the decomposing organisms.

    Their number sound fishy.

  40. I haven’t had a tree in years. I refuse to be part of the tree genocide. And I don’t have a fake tree. We just decorate the mantle and the house with festive Yule tide cheer. We don’t buy gifts, we make them. And I send E cards instead of wasting paper.

    And No, We don’t celebrate Christmas. I’m pagan, and my husband is an atheist.

    Besides, the Yule tree/ log was stolen from Pagans, as well most of the Christian religion. But that’s a topic for another board.

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