The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society’s Oliver Berger encourages residents to think about the benefits of purchasing, or harvesting a live Christmas tree to help ring in the spirit of Christmas. (Photo submitted)

The benefits of harvesting a live Christmas tree

Perhaps I should get a fake Christmas tree this year?

Oliver Berger

Special to the Tribune/Advisor

Perhaps I should get a fake Christmas tree this year?

Every year this real tree dies. Every year it sheds needles all over my living room. It is cumbersome to go get and move around, plus I have to redecorate it every year. Tough times.

Get an artificial Christmas tree, they said. Excellent idea! The tree comes decorated for life, folds into a handy little cardboard box, and those needles will not be all over my space anymore.

To boot, I don’t have to go harvest one. Easy, right?

Let me tell you a few things about artificial Christmas trees that I have learned over the past while.

Artificial trees consist of metals, various plastics, wiring, glass, paints, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and sometimes even lead. Having such varied components makes re-purposing or recycling these trees once they perish, extremely difficult. These festive trees become landfill.

Related: CCCS launches eco-business coaching program

A lot of the artificial tree’s components are also toxic. PVC dioxins have been known to cause health issues in humans and animals. We absorb them into our fatty tissue when they are released into the air or water around us. This is usually the ‘needles’ part of the tree.

I have been noticing that these needles shed just as fabulously as the real thing. Most fake trees are made in China, where work regulations and safety standards are a little different. Grinding plastics, processing fossil fuels and injecting chemicals to construct fake greenery are all part of the process.

Once the products exit the assembly line they now travel half way around the world just to be sold to our living rooms.

There is a heavy footprint in purchasing an artificial tree. So how many years do I have to use, pack, and store this thing to make it all balance out? Well the numbers vary, however on average you need to use your fake tree for about 13-plus years for it to be carbon neutral. Most do not make it past five.

We are so lucky to live in an area surrounded by thousands and thousands of trees! It is actually kind of surprising we need to put one inside our homes for ourselves when we have so many around us outside to enjoy every day.

I am going real.

I found a beautiful patch of trees underneath a hydro line along a service road. Perfect. These will eventually get mulched up anyway. This is where my Christmas trees for the next few years will come from and I can walk here to harvest them.

When the holidays are over I can 100 per cent compost my tree right back into nature, without that crazy tinsel of course.

The Christmas tree industry itself is actually beautifully sustainable.

Related: Trash art project sees students reclaim wood from dump

Only harvesting about 10 per cent of their trees each year, these farms continuously provide clean air and water, important habitat for wildlife, and erosion control.

We have many clubs and non-profits here in the Cariboo selling real trees to raise money, so we can ditch the plastic and support a local organization.

P.S. If you do go and harvest your own tree from our forests, don’t forget to grab your permit online or at Front Counter BC, don’t worry it is free: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-resource-use/natural-resource-permits/christmas-tree-permits

Conservation Tip of the Month: The most precious gift to give anyone is your time.

Oliver Berger is the Chief Green Officer with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Staff at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex are hosting a Halloween Pool Movie Night at the Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool. (Image submitted)
Complex invites families, teens, to enjoy Halloween Pool Movie Night Oct. 31

The Addams Family (2019) and Jaws (1975) will be screened at the pool

Donovan Boyd (left) and Kurtis Billy are wanted on outstanding warrants, RCMP said. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking to locate two suspects on outstanding warrants

If you have any information contact the Williams Lake RCMP

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Williams Lake on Highway 97 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo submitted)
Highway 97 crash south of Williams Lake claims one life

Road conditions at the time were slippery and covered with slush: RCMP

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read