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The PPM Blog

Make Your Holiday Season Greener!

a person smiling for the cameraContributed by Rebecca Martin, Environmental Engineer, PPM Consultants

There are numerous ways one can be environmentally conscious this Christmas season… or environmentally harmful. But practicing sustainability for the holidays does not have to be difficult.

Real vs. Fake Christmas Trees

Most people would think that having a fake Christmas tree would be more sustainable because you are not contributing to deforestation and associated issues with cutting down trees. But in actuality, purchasing fake Christmas trees is more harmful to the environment than purchasing a live one. This is due to the fact that lots of carbon pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere in the process it takes to produce and transport these artificial trees and most are not recyclable, increasing the amount of materials that go to a landfill. Millions of artificial trees are purchased by the US alone each year and almost all of them are from other countries around the globe, increasing the emissions generated from transportation.

Alternatively, real trees purchased for the Christmas season are grown locally and help support the community economy and habitats. An article written by the Nature Conservancy states the following:

“Real vs. Fake-Which Christmas Tree Is Better for the Environment?” The Nature Conservancy, 1 Nov. 2023,

“When these natural trees are harvested for sale, there are more than ten times as many left standing! Out of the 350-500 million growing on tree farms across the U.S., only 30 million trees are harvested for Christmas each year. Buying real trees will help keep tree farms in business—and in turn keep their lands covered in the healthy forest habitat that wildlife depends on to survive.” 

Tree farms produce so many trees and the majority are left standing which in turn decreases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. And the best part is, these trees are recyclable! They can used for firewood or even habitat conservation through local projects in your community!

I’m not saying you should throw away your current artificial trees you have at home, but use them until it’s time to buy fresh! Supporting sustainable farming is an awesome way to help your community and environment.

Gift Giving Hacks

Gift giving can be green and inexpensive with these awesome hacks!

Use newspaper for wrapping paper! It’s creative, responsible, and recyclable! Oh, and don’t forget… cheap! You can even use old fabric! Create your own design instead of using wrapping paper that so many others could have. Add some bits of nature as the pompoms and bows! It’s festive and fun for the entire family!

If you are running out of gift ideas, creating can be a great outlet and homemade gifts are always loved!

Paint something for a loved one, knit a sweater or scarf, repurpose old candle wax, the options are endless! You can even take last year’s wood from the live Christmas tree and cut circular pieces from the stump to paint and create unique tree ornaments!

a sign on the side of a buildingReusing old materials and bringing them back to life in a new way is how you can help to reduce carbon emissions from potential gifts you might have purchased!

These are just a few options to make your Christmas or holiday season a little bit greener and more festive!

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