I wanted to post a blog based on a conversation / interview I had yesterday with a reporter. I was asked, "Since the conference on global warming is taking place, my editor wanted to know what your take on Christmas trees and global warming is."
Now, ignoring the obvious irony involved here as I sit in an airport delayed by the massive snow storm pounding the eastern half of the country, I have my own personal views on the topic of "global warming." But I keep those to myself and simply replied that the topic of global warming is not pertinent to Christmas trees specifically, at least when comes to choosing a fake one or a farm-grown one.
But in general, the environment is a topic of interest and importance to consumers. And in my mind, there really is no debate about which is better for the environment. From hybrid vehicles to water-saving toilets, many companies are trying to capture the interest of the environmentally conscious consumer. The Real Christmas Tree industry has it easy – our product has always been the environmental choice. The question is – do consumers know this?
In the fight for market share against artificial trees, the environmental issue is one where the real Christmas tree industry has the upper hand, but it’s up to us to make sure this message is heard and it’s been an uphill battle.
While they’re growing, Real Christmas Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and emit fresh oxygen. They are grown on farms just like any crop. Christmas tree farmers plant new seedlings every spring to replace those harvested. In 2009, an estimated 42 million new trees were planted by Christmas Tree farmers. There are close to 350 million trees growing on tree farms in the U.S. alone. These trees would not exist if not planted by Christmas tree farmers. Christmas trees stabilize the soil, prevent run-off erosion, preserve green spaces and support complex eco-systems. And of course, since they are 100% biodegradable, farm-grown Christmas trees can be easily recycled, whereas fake trees can not.
What about the fake tree? Isn’t it better for the environment if you use something over and over? Artificial trees are a petroleum-based product manufactured primarily in Chinese factories. The average family uses a fake tree for only six to nine years before throwing it away, where it will remain in a landfill indefinitely. The polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in most artificial trees has been boycotted by many environmental groups.
Is the environment really that big a factor in consumers’ decisions? Yes, research shows that consumers are getting more and more eco-conscious when choosing products. Even if consumers do not recognize the environment as one of the factors in their decision, it is important that the correct facts about Christmas trees are out there.
Does anyone really still believe that Christmas Trees come from forests? Yes, unfortunately some do. Ironically, many ads for fake trees include a selling point that they come in a sturdy cardboard box, while claiming you are “saving a tree” by using a plastic one. They don’t mention where the cardboard comes from, but consumers are smart enough to see this duplicity. Those in the business of farming and selling real Christmas trees have made great strides in recent years in breaking down the myths surrounding real Christmas trees. Visit www.realchristmastrees.org to learn more.