PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Every Christmas, millions of Americans decide to ditch the fresh-cut tree and go artificial. There are many reasons for doing so, but there’s one popular reason that doesn’t hold water.

Artificial trees have come a long way: they’re easier to use, they look better, they offer options like red velvet branches and gilded needles.  But one thing they are not is more environmentally friendly.

“The processing of it is generally a pollution-generating process,” according to Joe Ascenzi, who sells fresh-cut trees at Laurel Hill Gardens in Chestnut Hill, Pa.

He says the ecological superiority of real trees is well known in the industry.

“A fake tree is basically a petrochemical product that’s not recyclable,” Ascenzi told KYW Newsradio on Monday.

New environmental research confirms this conventional wisdom, but Janet Barag of Ed London Wreath Company in Philadelphia doesn’t expect that to slow down sales. She says her artificial tree customers are concerned about their own home environment.

“Usually, people are coming off many, many years of fresh trees and they say they’re tired of cleaning up after them,” she says.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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