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Ecology Expert Says A Real Christmas Tree is the Way To Go

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(A streetcorner Christmas tree vendor in New York City.  File photo by  Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

(A streetcorner Christmas tree vendor in New York City. File photo by Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Are you dreaming of a “green” Christmas?

We talked to an expert to get some pointers on how to make the holiday season more eco-friendly.

Avital Andrews, lifestyle editor of the Sierra Club magazine, says the idea is to conserve resources but still be festive.

Among the major questions, she says, is, “Real tree or fake tree?  So, one of the big things that you can do to go ‘green’ over the holidays is to go with a real tree.  And it sounds a little counterintuitive because you hear us greenies tell you all the time, ‘reusable this, reusable that.’ “

But she says a real tree is… well, real.   She points out that it may have been grown on a farm, capturing CO2 and supporting agriculture, “whereas the fake tree was very likely manufactured in a factory in China using a lot of PVC and lead, which are all known to be toxic chemicals.”

Andrews says the holiday season generates 25 percent more waste on average, a lot of it greeting cards and gift wrap.

That’s an additional one million tons of trash per week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

So, what’s the alternative to wrapping paper that ends up in the trash?

“There are a bunch of cute, reusable shopping bags.  All you got to do is stick the gift in there, tie a ribbon on it, and you’ve given two gifts!”

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