Revealed: Is a pine tree or a plastic tree more eco-friendly?

As the silly season gets underway, environmentally-conscious Kiwis may be wondering whether chopping down a single tree each year is better - or worse - than a plastic tree made in an off-shore factory.

Georgi Hart from the Sustainable Business Network says fake trees are tricky to recycle, so will often end up in landfills. She also says there are big cons to plastic.

"Plastic is essentially toxic to humans and animals. When we create plastic products, there are also by-products in the factory that go into the environment," she told Newshub.

"Also, you've got all your shipping - all your carbon miles with the shipping of your tree as well."

On the other hand, Georgi says there can be issues with cutting down a tree if there are no sustainable farming practices.

Overall, she says real trees are better than plastic.

"Trees are kinda magic. They take up carbon from the atmosphere, helping with climate change," she explains.

For those who reuse their fake tree for years, US researchers say plastic trees would need to be reused for 20 years before they become more eco-friendly than cutting down one single tree annually.

The advice is to spend the money on a plastic tree that will hopefully last for decades. 

For those who are partial to a pine tree, it's recommended to look into organisations that do free tree disposal, turning them into compost and mulch.

Georgi has opted for a pohutukawa this year, a tree she believes is the ideal option as it can be kept for years.

Other eco-friendly tips for Christmas include reusing pieces of fabric to wrap gifts and investing in reusable advent calendars - small and simple tips that could help avoid added waste on Christmas Day.