Every holiday season, the debate begins over whether it's better for the environment to use an artificial Christmas tree or a real one. Then there's the question of what to do with your tree after the holidays. News 8's Natasha Stenbock went looking for answers and has some tips on how to have a "green" Christmas.
The day after Christmas, many neighborhoods are littered with discarded Christmas trees headed for the Miramar Landfill, but there's a better way to dispose of your real tree. And if you have a fake one, you might want to think about a greener alternative.
It's that time of year when holiday decorations take center stage. But can our traditional adornments hurt the environment? At least one tree specialist says there are green ways to celebrate the season.
"A lot of people today are concerned about the environment. They want to make the right eco kind of choice, or an eco friendly choice for their purchases. Real trees are truly that. This is a hundred percent renewable product that's grown as a crop on a farm," Oregon State University Extension Agent Michael Bondi said.
Bondi says because these trees are grown on a farm, they are sustainable. But being green this Christmas isn't just about buying a real tree, but making sure you return it to the earth when you're done.
"Ultimately they're one hundred percent decomposable, biodegradable, recyclable. so at the end of the holiday season when its time to move the tree out of the house they get ground up, they get recycled, they get composted and they go back to the earth," Bondi said.
Before we take down the decorations, let's focus on how we can keep the tree fresh.
"One of the questions people have is should I put something into the water? When I fill up the tree stand, maybe there's a sugar packet or maybe I should put beer in the stand. The answer is no. Plain fresh water is what these trees really need. If you just keep plain fresh water in the stand and keep it full that's the best thing you can do," Bondi said.
"When we get the tree into the house now where do I put it. We know that water is important but nonetheless we should never put it in front of a heater or a heat register or a fire place or wood stove or anything like that. We want to keep the tree in the coolest part of the house that you can, and here in Southern California it might be good not to necessarily put it in front of a window," he said.
Yard clippings and other organic materials, such as Christmas trees, make up more than 20 percent of the material buried in the Miramar Landfill. But by recycling your tree, you can help reduce the amount of material in the landfill and give holiday trees a second life.