HomeThe CSWD BlogHolidaysMay all your Christmas trees be green

May all your Christmas trees be green

Natural Christmas tree close upIt’s better to choose a live, local Christmas tree rather than an artificial one. Here’s why:

The landfill is forever.

Well, just about. The average artificial tree lasts 6 to 9 years but will remain in a landfill for centuries. With CSWD’s Yule Fuel program, when you’re ready to dispose of your real tree, it is given the chance to light up the night one last time when it is chipped up and used as fuel to generate electricity.


Think a real tree poses a greater fire hazard? Think again. Most artificial trees are made with polyvinyl chloride, which often uses lead as a stabilizer, making it toxic to inhale if there is a fire.

Ahhh…fresh air.

Every acre of Christmas trees produces enough daily oxygen for 18 people. There are about 500,000 acres of Christmas trees growing in the U.S. Because of their hardiness, trees are usually planted where few other plants can grow, increasing soil stability and providing a refuge for wildlife.

Think of the economy.

North American Christmas tree farms employ more than 100,000 local people; 80% of artificial trees worldwide are manufactured overseas.

Make memories.

Make a day of it and go to a local tree farm where you can cut your own, or purchase a potted tree and plant it in your yard after the holidays. You’ll also take home some sweet memories.

We hope you’ll go au natural this holiday season. If you do, be careful to make sure your tree doesn’t end up in the landfill when the holiday is over:

Declare your tree a tinsel-free zone. Decorate your tree naturally. Instead of with tinsel, which is difficult to remove, and spray-on snow, which is pretty near impossible to remove, decorate your tree with items found in nature, such as the fluff from a milkweed pod, or pine cones from the forest.

Keep it natural. We can accept natural trees for free at the McNeil Wood & Yard Waste Depot and at most of our Drop-Off Centers only if they are completely free of anything Mother Nature didn’t make herself. They’ll all end up at McNeil in Burlington, where they’ll be burned and turned into electricity.

If you just can’t keep it natural, most Drop-Off Centers will accept trees as bulky trash (and send them to the landfill), at a charge of $1 per foot in height. Not the happiest ending. :(

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Clare has lived in Tennessee, New Mexico, California, Virginia, Connecticut, Texas, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and, for the past 10 years, Vermont. She can be found peering into recycling bins everywhere to see what works and is frequently quizzed about recycling and composting in random places when people find out where she works. She spends as much time as possible playing ukulele and roaming through Vermont’s spectacular mountains and forests.