Fake or real: What Christmas tree is best for the planet?

By Matthew Knight, CNN

Updated 7:48 AM ET, Fri December 9, 2016
christmas tree lights edinburgh christmas tree lights edinburgh
1 of 11
Choices, choices. Which Christmas tree will you pick this festive season? Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Will you be buying a real tree, an artificial one or improvising with plants in your house? NOEL CELIS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A glittering presence in New York -- the annual Rockefeller Center lighting ceremony. ANGELA WEISS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Christmas trees at a farm in Dumfries, Scotland are wrapped and ready for the living rooms up and down the UK. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A estimated eight million real Christmas trees are sold in the UK each year. In the United States that figure was 20 million in 2014, according to the US Department for Agriculture. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
An eco-friendly Christmas tree was installed at the Basilica de San Francisco explanade in La Paz, Bolivia in 2013. Artificial indoor trees are popular -- around 11.5 million bought them in the US alone in 2016. AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Elephants at Germany's Berlin Zoo feed on leftover Christmas trees. STEPHANIE PILICK/DPA/AFP/Getty Images
It's important to dispose of your tree responsibly. Your local authority may have a recycling program which will turn your discarded tree into chippings and compost. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Sadly, many trees end up on street corners and eventually wind up in the nearest landfill site. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Burning a Christmas tree, as this man is doing in Amsterdam, Netherlands attracts a relatively small carbon footprint -- an incinerated two-meter tree will produce around 3.5 kg CO2e, according to the UK's Carbon Trust. KOEN VAN WEEL/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
This, tree, however, could end up in landfill which is far less environmentally friendly. Decomposing Christmas trees emit methane -- a powerful greenhouse gas. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images