Caron Gremont
(202) 973-2940
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Dreaming of a “Green” Christmas
Being good to Mother Earth this holiday starts with the right tree

(Washington, DC) – A recent national survey shows that nearly six in ten Americans purchase artificial Christmas trees rather than real ones always or most of the time (59 percent). The survey also found that about the same number mistakenly believe that buying an artificial Christmas tree is better for the environment than a real Christmas tree (58 percent).

However, the “Greenest” holiday starts with a real tree. Real Christmas trees come from well-managed forests, which are a sustainable resource. For every Christmas tree harvested in these well-managed forests, up to three more are planted in the spring.1 And, real Christmas trees are biodegradable and recyclable. So after the holidays they can be put to good use as mulch to recycle nutrients back into the soil or as habitat enhancements for wildlife.

The national survey conducted by market research firm ICR and sponsored by the Abundant Forests Alliance, measured environmental concern, knowledge and behavior among a nationally representative sample of more than 1,500 adult Americans. The survey found that 89 percent of Americans say that it is important to them personally to be “Green,” or environmentally conscious. Yet there are large gaps between self-perception, knowledge and behavior.

“The good news is that our forests are as abundant today as they were 100 years ago. But there is great confusion about how we care for and use this important natural resource,” says Chuck Leavell, family forest owner, author and keyboardist for the Rolling Stones. “Now that I am a grandfather, I want to put my passions about forestry into words and teach the next generation to appreciate the wonderful gifts of the forest.”

Selecting a real Christmas tree during the holiday, Leavell points out, is a fun and environmentally friendly activity for the family. There are about 500,000 acres devoted to growing Christmas trees in the United States, with those acres spread across every state in the country.2

Many Christmas trees are grown on family owned forests, a fact that would surprise most Americans. The majority of adults (80 percent) don’t know that private landowners own and care for the largest single chunk of the nation’s forests. About half of the U.S. forestland is owned collectively by more than 10 million individuals and families, who ensure that the forests will be abundant for generations to come.

One thing Americans can do to be more Green is to understand the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources. Renewable resources, such as wood, are natural materials that can be used and replenished. Nonrenewable resources are materials such as fossil fuels or minerals that are present in finite amounts and, once used, are gone. Understanding these concepts leads to informed decision-making. Select a real Christmas tree to enjoy, recycle and even reuse, for example:

  • Don’t just recycle, treecycle. Look online or in the local paper for community treecycling programs. Many municipalities offer to pick up your tree at the curbside. The trees are then turned into mulch for playgrounds and beautification projects. Call 1-800-Cleanup or visit for treecycling opportunities.

  • Make next year’s presents out of this year’s tree. To create holiday potpourri or sachets, let the branches dry, then remove and crumble the needles. Mix with cinnamon sticks, cloves or any other favorite Christmas scents. Place this potpourri mixture into tightly sealed jars. Or sew sachet squares and fill.

For more Green tips for the holiday visit

  1. National Christmas Tree Assn. (
  2. ibid

Chuck Leavell, whom the Washington Post dubbed the "Bono of Trees," has anchored the legendary Rolling Stones on keyboard for more than two decades, and has performed with the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton, George Harrison among others. Chuck’s work with his wife Rose Lane on their Georgia plantation, Charlane Plantation, led to their recognition in 2005 by Secretary Gale Norton, U.S. Department of the Interior, as "Outstanding Citizen Stewards." They were named in 1999 as the nation’s outstanding Tree Farmers. Chuck is the author of several books including The Tree Farmer and Between Rock and a Home Place.

About the Abundant Forests Alliance
Members of the wood and paper products industry in the United States have formed the Abundant Forests Alliance. We share information with consumers and customers about the many ways our industry is helping to ensure that with proper care and management there will always be abundant forests. We also listen and respond to environmental concerns about our forests and products. Through sustainable forestry practices, improved recycling and new technologies, our industry is helping to maintain the delicate balance between supplying the wood and paper products people need and giving the forest what it needs to flourish. By working together to renew, reuse and respect our forest resources, we can balance the needs of people with the needs of nature so forests can remain abundant.

Our members include: Anthony Forest Products Company | Green Diamond Resource Company | International Paper | MeadWestvaco | Monadnock Paper Mills | Plum Creek Timber Company | Temple-Inland | The Westervelt Company | Weyerhaeuser