For those of us who are allergic to natural Christmas trees, want the convenience of being able to store a tree for next year, or even just want to avoid the dreaded needle drop, an artificial Christmas tree is often the way to go – and thanks to petrochemicals, today’s trees are almost indistinguishable from their real-life counterparts.
Artificial Christmas trees are proving to be very popular – more than 80 million households this year will have an artificial tree, compared to the approximately 19 million households that will have real Christmas trees instead – and this popularity has been reflected in the refining of the manufacturing process.
The artificial tree has certainly come a long way from the shiny aluminum models of the 1960s, the toilet brush trees of the 1930s and the feather trees of the 1800s. Most modern trees today are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene (PE), both widespread and common polymers used in many products across a range of industries. The petrochemical building block ethylene is used to make both polymers.
What can today’s PVC and PE trees do that real trees cannot? Apart from allowing consumers to skirt the allergy and needle drop issues, the versatility of the artificial trees allows you to shop by height, size, shape and color – giving you exactly what you want. Even upside down Christmas trees.
So this Christmas, as you gather round your artificial tree to open your presents, you can be thankful that the petrochemical industries can help create the Christmas you always wanted.