Saturday, December 26, 2009

Green Christmas Trees?

CHRISTMAS trees are big business: more than 31 million were sold in the United States last year, for $1.3 billion, according to the National Christmas Tree Association

I would love to have my wood-burning stove set up (though I am looking into how environmentally friendly that heating option really is, even when using very efficient stoves) so that I can have a great use for all the Christmas trees that end up on the curb... it is quite disgusting to see these beautiful, noble trees cut and used as decorations and then discarded as trash after a couple of weeks. I am just waiting for the wreckage to pile up as I walk down the New York streets these next few days.

I would love to have a company that goes around and collects all these trees... and reuses them. Better yet, I would love if folks would consider "renting" a sapling for the season - i.e. using a potted tree for a few weeks that would then be planted in the ground. No waste (except some transport... but even that can be greatly reduced if the trees are grown and planted nearby). Is there already someone doing something like this?

Here are some resources to consider next year, if you do decide to buy a cut tree and want to support local farmers and environmentally-friendly growing practices:

How Green Can a Christmas Tree Be? (New York Times, December 4, 2008)
Locally grown, pesticide-free food is gaining sway these days but how many of us give the same kind of thought to the Christmas trees we bring home? If you are looking for a Christmas tree that has been certified as organic or chemical-free, there are several Web sites that can help you.
Local Harvest, a national network of local products, in Santa Cruz, Calif., lists sources for Christmas trees and wreaths, both organic and conventionally grown;, (831) 475-8150.
Toxic Free North Carolina,
in Raleigh, N.C., lists sources for sustainably grown trees in the state, and has information about pesticides commonly used on Christmas trees;, (919) 833-5333.
Beyond Pesticides,
a nonprofit group in Washington, provides sources for organic and naturally grown trees, as well as up-to-date information on pesticides;, (202) 543-5450.
Green Promise,
a group in Pingree Grove, Ill., that distributes information about sustainable products, lists sources for organic trees around the country on its Web site,
Agricultural extension offices often keep lists of local growers; consult the Department of Agriculture’s Web site,
The Council on the Environment of New York City
keeps a list of farmers’ markets, many of which sell Christmas trees;, (212) 788-7476.