In the future we might paint our homes with dead Christmas trees

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The article makes it sound like using a tree made from mined-from the earth metal and petroleum-based plastic, manufactured and shipped from who knows where is a better option than cutting down a tree in a tree farm. The latter can be (I am sure it is not always though, if your tree is shipped from who knows where) a green, sustainable option—and when you put the tree back into the woods to provide shelter or decompose back into the forest so it doesn’t fill a landfill, I suspect it is a fine way to go.


No, old Christmas trees are donated to the local zoo, and then the elephants eat them.


I don’t know how it works in other parts of the country, but where I live, the local waste department has specific trucks to collect Christmas trees for a few weeks after Christmas; they’re hauled to a local mulch producer to be re-used on lawns and gardens. Somehow that seems more environmentally conscious than dissolving them into paint or using extremely-non-recyclable artificial trees.


Great more “ose” to further taint our food supply. Metabolic cluster anyone?


Why get so clever? Dead pine needles make fantastic kindling, as well as mulch.


Really? Never heard of that. Considering God never put a pine tree on the savanna, I wonder if they can eat them… ETA - evidently they can. Huh.

They make good fish homes if you have a favorite fishing spot.


Or what happens near me. Our local dumps chip them up and compost them along with all the other yard waste. The results are used in landscaping public property instead of purchasing bulk mulch and chemical fertilizer. Residents are entitled to a certain number of cubic feet of mulch and compost each season. And the overage is sold on the cheap to help keep fees low and fund shit like properly sorting trash and recycling.

Trees are biodegradable, and sanitation systems aren’t just tossing them in a landfill and hoping any more than they’re doing that with your hedge trimmings. Growing trees is a fairly benign sort of farming environmentally speaking as well. We grow a lot of Christmas trees here (as well as trees and schrubs for landscaping). In the list of farming activities that are roaching our top soil, causing erosion, and jacking up the water ways. Christmas trees sit on the “fixing it” end with vineyards, orchards and some other stuff. Rather than the “oh god why” end with sod.


They love it, it’s a real treat for them.
The trees must be checked to make sure there isn’t any leftover tinsel or ornaments still in them.


I’m not surprised this is possible as a chemical process, the question is whether it’s sufficiently profitable for anyone to bother. I’m pretty disillusioned since I found out that collected recycling gets shipped all the way to China for processing because no US companies want to deal with it… and when it’s not profitable enough to do that, it just gets landfilled.

Also, most places that give elephants trees are only taking unused fresh ones from tree farms, not accepting them out of people’s houses. Too much risk and labor involved in making sure something that was covered in ornaments and tinsel is safe for the animals.


Clearly he put a lot of effort and research hours into this hot take. It’s pretty well documented that buying a live tree is much more ecologically sound than buying a box full of PVC. All of the studies saying otherwise that I could find were a) funded by the industry-sponsored group ACTA and b) assume that people will reuse their artificial tree for at least 5 years and dispose of it properly and c) that live trees are all bought at Lowe’s and disposed of at the curb.

We get ours from a local, state-certified tree farm, cut it ourselves and would dispose of it in the county compost program if we didn’t make use of them as kindling in our outdoor fire pit. Sure, most people don’t go to these lengths, but most people can’t be bothered to brew their own coffee or recycle unless it’s legally mandated.


Also, there’s an old saying in the paper business (where this sort of thing comes from), that you can make anything out of Lignin except money.


Around here the real trees are collected curbside and brought to the (kind of pathetic and weedy) harbor beach we have to keep the scouring nor’easter winds from blowing what’s left of the sand up off the beach, over the road, across the street, into the next town, etc., etc. Then in the spring the trees are collected from there and composted.

Also, a real tree post-Christmas can be put outside to give smaller birds some respite from the worst of the weather, and also predators like Cooper’s Hawks.


Indeed, I suspect the paper industry has by now invested many tens of millions over the decades looking into what a PhD candidate has managed to get written up in a clever press release. But that’s business.

Remember a few decades ago when people were excitedly saying “In the future we might wear recycled glass bottles!” in reference to an approaching era of fiberglass fabrics?


It seems to be a misunderstanding of the issues with real trees, which are pretty limited to our densest cities.

In big cities you’re talking about trees that are by necessity trucked in. People tend to dispose of them improperly or at inappropriate times, and having all those dessicated trees hanging around creates a fire hazard. When I lived in Brooklyn it wasn’t uncommon to see people finally sticking their tree on the curb in March.

Because there’s so many people there’s an issue with moving them all. It’s a lot of bulky, awkward shit for sanitation to move all at once.

It’s a logistical problem with getting the trees from people’s homes to an end point where they’re handled properly. Not an environmental problem or something to do with the trees themselves. Just park these things in a landfill and they’ll rot out in a couple years, because trees are biodegradable. But a pile of the fuckers sitting in a vacant city lot may eventually burn a neighborhood down.

Turning them into paint doesn’t help that, because those trees still got trucked down from Canada, and you’ve got the same problem moving them to the paint factory.


The paper industry calls it “Black Liquor” and they burn it for energy.

They used to just dump in into waterways. Thank Dawg they don’t do that anymore.

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Or in my case a way to not be the miserable walking dead on antihistamines from living in an enclosed area with a thing I am otherwise only mildly allergic to.


I love going out to SMP and sit downwind of the mound of trees!

My aunt has to have an artificial tree, because in recent years she developed an allergy to the real thing. Made her very sad.

The library has to have an artificial tree because of fire hazard, at least that’s the official story. We ship our trees in from the mainland. Last few years there was a tree lot on every vacant corner, but this year, the only place I saw them was at Home Depot and Lowe’s; even the church that usually sells them didn’t bother this year. Drought? Wildfires? Tree farms going out of business?

I wonder if someone could coax pines, firs, etc. to grow upcountry about the 5000’ level, in some of the otherwise unusable land, rather than shipping them in.

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She has my sympathies.
Personally real or fake the older I get the less I want the damn hassle of putting it up/taking it down/etc. I would rather make a corner with a few decorations dedicated to presents and get on with the hanging out with people you care about.