Has the consumerist production and disposal involved in both artificial and cut trees got you down? Don't worry, there are kinder, greener options for Christmas trees that aren't too difficult to implement if you're willing to revise your traditions.
ECO-FRIENDLY CHRISTMAS TREE ALTERNATIVES
RENTAL: Rent a Christmas tree? Yes, you can actually have a living tree delivered and picked up after the holidays, and the grower will replant the tree on city streets or where they're most needed. Or you can also choose to adopt a tree and have the same one delivered to your home year after year; the grower will replant it and keep it alive for you. This is, by far, the most eco-friendly way to enjoy having a real tree at Christmas. Search online for a Christmas tree delivery company in your area.
CARDBOARD: The lead laden, artificial Christmas tree that comes all the way from China is no longer an option for the eco-friendly consumer. Instead, go for a tree made from and packaged in recycled corrugated cardboard. For 19.95, you can get yourself a 3-foot, 100-percent-recyclable, reusable Cardboard Christmas Tree (along with 50 cardboard ornaments) that can be painted and decorated any way you like. A portion of the profits will be donated to the Arbor Day Foundation's Trees for America Program, where every dollar donated equals one tree planted in a damaged forest.
LIVING, POTTED: You can buy a live, potted tree and replant it in your yard or donate it to your local parks department for replanting. Your local nursery can help you find the right living Christmas tree and also instruct you on care and replanting instructions. Go to FindNurseries.com to find a local nursery and visit the National Christmas Tree Organization website for additional care instructions.
INDOOR: If you live in an apartment and can only get a small tree, why not get a Rosemary tree that's easier to grow indoors and can be reused year after year? Widely available at Whole Foods, these cute little trees smell great, are easy to decorate with lights and ornaments, and yield great-tasting herbs for cooking.
REAL: If you buy a cut tree, be sure you read our upcoming article Christmas Tree Recycling to find out how to recycle it, because there's nothing sadder than a mighty pine wasting away on the side of the road.