While the greenest option is buying a locally sourced real tree, you can reduce the environmental impact of an artificial tree by re-using it for at least four years. That is according to a 2020 life-cycle analysis of artificial versus real trees sponsored by the American Christmas Tree Association. Due to the energy required to manufacture an artificial tree, the more years it is reused, the lower the relative carbon footprint compared to purchasing a real tree every year. Transportation from the tree farm contributes to the carbon footprint of real trees. Thus after four years, carbon emissions from one artificial tree may be lower than the emissions required to transport four real trees. It is also important to consider that at the end of its usable life, artificial trees require disposal of plastic.
Single use packaging creates a lot of waste. Loop is working toward a circular economy by keeping resources in the system and getting rid of single-use packaging. A number of companies have teamed up with Loop to offer reusable containers for some of their products. Once you pay the deposit for the container, you only pay for the refill. They also provide pickup service and clean the empty containers. This is also another contact-free way to shop.
Terracycle, the home company for Loop, explains the process:
Here’s how it works: