Christmas tree decorations.

Plastic or pine? Consumers urged to make eco-friendly Christmas tree choices

It’s a twinkling, garland-wrapped tradition around the world: the Christmas tree.

Derived from pagan and Christian customs, the lush leafy symbol has become a staple of celebrations over the centuries.

But a silent war is taking place under the mistletoe – pine or plastic?

According to the latest ABS Household Spending Survey, Australians spend an average of $27 a year on Christmas decorations.

But before sprucing up your home with a new tree, sustainability experts urge trinket lovers to consider more eco-friendly alternatives to plastic trees.

Monash Sustainable Development Institute project manager Julie Boulton is urging Christmas revelers to drop plans to buy a new plastic tree, to avoid perpetuating demand for the products.

A man, woman and child decorate a plastic Christmas tree lit only by fairy lights.
Experts are calling on families to reuse their plastic trees and resist the urge to buy a new one every year.(Unsplash: Jonathan Borba)

“[Plastic] produces far more emissions than a [live] tree,” Ms. Boulton explained.

“The emissions that were used to create this plastic Christmas tree in the first place, you would need to keep it for 15 years to compensate.”

Don’t upgrade, reuse

Zero Waste Australia campaign coordinator for the National Toxics Network, Jane Bremmer, said there were other issues to consider when investing in products made from non-recyclable plastics.

“We really want to avoid these plastics in our homes [made from] polyvinyl chloride, which contain dangerous flame retardant chemicals, phthalates… chemicals that we already know are harmful to human health,” she said.

But don’t rush to throw away your old plastic family Christmas tree.

Plastic Christmas trees are losing their appeal for many people as they look for ways to live more sustainably.
Plastic Christmas trees need a long lifespan to be able to combat the emissions produced during their creation.(ABC Coffs Coast: Melissa Martin)

Instead, CSIRO encourages Australians to use their plastic trees multiple times, rather than “upgrading” or buying a new tree every year.

“There are a lot of things we use that are made of PVC…some of them are potentially quite problematic,” said Britta Denise Hardesty, principal researcher for CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere.

#Plastic #pine #Consumers #urged #ecofriendly #Christmas #tree #choices

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *