Choosing Your Christmas Tree

Choosing Your Christmas Tree

Every year fellow residents purchase a Christmas tree and decorate it for the holiday season.  While there are a variety of sizes to choose from there are usually two types of trees, live natural Christmas tress, and artificial trees.  Which one will you choose this year?

Live Christmas treesChristmas tree with presents and fireplace with stockings are a very eco-friendly choice.  For one, live trees are sustainable resource, which means you can plant new trees and harvest them again.   For each tree harvested, one to three seedlings are planted the following spring.  There are several Christmas tree farms near by which helps to reduce transportation related emissions.  Trees also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere replacing it with oxygen.  One acre of Christmas trees is estimated to produce enough oxygen for the daily needs of 18 people – an artificial tree, not so much.

Artificial Christmas trees, though convenient, are not exactly the best choice for the planet.  They’re made from petroleum-based, non-biodegradable plastics like PVC and other metals and glues making them un-recyclable.   According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 85% of artificial Christmas trees are manufactured in China, which means they have to travel a very long way, increasing our carbon emissions.

Live trees however, can be recycled or “treecycled” which is an easy way to return a renewable and natural resource back to the environment.   Trees are recycled when they’re chipped and made into mulch that can be used in landscaping and gardening.  You can treecycle locally during Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful’s annual Christmas Tree Recycling event.  The next one will be on Saturday, January 3, 2015 at the parking lot of The Home Depot on Shugart Rd. in Dalton from 9 am to 1 pm.   Visit for more details.

Whitfield County Convenience Centers also accept live trees as part of their yard trimmings collection program that’s available year round. For the location nearest you visit or call 706-278-5001.  If you live in the city of Dalton you may qualify for pickup at the curb.  Call public works at 706-278-7077 to get more specifics.

If you just can’t have a real tree every year, do maintain your artificial one in good condition by cleaning it and storing it in its original box during the off-season.  Commit to using the same tree for as many years as possible.  In 2009 the environmental firm Ellipsos of Montreal found that “an artificial tree would have to be reused for more than 20 years to be greener than buying a fresh-cut tree annually.”

And, if you can’t bring yourself to use a tree that’s been cut down, do a search online for live Christmas trees in a planter.  They’re called potted or planted living Christmas trees.  Typically small in size, they’re safe to leave indoors for up to ten days.  After the festivities they can stay in the pot outdoors for up to two years.  Then, you can transplant the tree to your backyard.

Liz Swafford is the Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority.  Contact her at 706-278-5001, or e-mail


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