There are some easy ways to get more sustainable floral arrangements. Here are some of our best tips!
By Diane Small
Whether it’s for a wedding, a holiday celebration, or simply to make. your house look pretty, flowers are a wonderful choice.
Although they’re all-natural, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily good for the environment. That’s true for several reasons:
- Flowers are usually imported from far away. Kenya, Colombia and the Netherlands are three countries that are huge flower producers.
- Loads of pesticides are usually used to grow flowers.
- They’re packaged in plastic, often with floral foam.
In fact, did you know that around 90% of flowers in the United States are imported from other countries? Once the processed flowers are loaded in a refrigerated truck, the race against time begins to ensure that these chilled flowers are delivered to their destination as preserved and intact as possible. They’re taken to the cold storage facility near the airport upon arrival. They’re then prepped and packaged to be stacked and loaded in a chilled airplane and then delivered to various destinations. That’s a huge carbon footprint!
Luckily, there are plenty of options for decorating an event or your home with more sustainable floral arrangements. Here are 8 great tips to get you started!
8 Ways To More Sustainable Bouquets
1. Grow your own
The most obvious way to have more sustainable floral arrangements is to grow your own flowers. It’s always best to grow local blooms that are native to your area and which will thrive in your climate. But it’s not just the flowers themselves you can grow: plant your own green foliage to complement your arrangements, too.
2. Use flowers that dry perfectly
If you’re creating or buying flower arrangements, you can make them last longer by drying them out. Some types of flowers, listed below, can be dried out easily, providing pretty sustainable floral arrangements for months to come.
These are, for example:
- baby’s breath
- globe thistles
You can also collect green foliage that dries out well, too. Think of plants such as artemisia, eucalyptus, dill weed, rosemary, sage, prairie grass and ferns. These last ages when dried and look wonderful alongside dried blooms.
3. Always ditch floral foam
Floral foam often forms the foundation of commercial flower arrangements. It acts as a water source to keep flowers fresh.
However, not only is floral foam usually single use, but it is also a petroleum-derived product made from two toxic chemicals – phenol and formaldehyde. This plastic material breaks down into smaller pieces eventually.
That sounds like a good thing, but nope. When it breaks down, it turns into microplastics. These harm wildlife when ingested. And eventually, microplastics find their way into our own food and water supply.
A much better option? Moss. It not only holds flowers in place, but can also be used as a natural water source for your flowers.
4. Use locally grown greenery
Sourcing flowers and foliage locally will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimise synthetic chemicals sprayed into the natural environment. You can find local flower farms that offer seasonal, local and organic blooms using the Grown Not Flown app, an app purposely built to help florists and customers find slow flower farms.
5. Source secondhand
Did you know that after large events, many organisers, brides and venue owners sell the floral arrangements? You can probably find some gorgeous bouquets if you go to your local Craig’s List or eBay and do a search. You can even make an arrangement with your local church or event venue to inquire when they might have arrangements that match your needs. Zero waste flowers? Yes please!
6. Compost flower waste
Tons of flower waste is left in churches and event venues every day. The dying foliage creates a home for microbes that cause pollution, produce a harmful stench and even spread infectious diseases.
One way to manage flower waste is to compost it. This not only saves the environment from flower waste pollution but it also serves as a fertiliser.
7. Insist on plastic-free packaging
For more sustainable floral arrangements, always insist on going plastic-free. Insist the florist skip the cellophane and wraps your bouquets in natural, biodegradable materials such as recycled paper instead. Oh, and instead of using ribbons made of synthetic fabrics such as polyester, ask for string or ribbon made of natural fibres such as cotton, hemp or silk instead.
8. Go organic
Our final way to have more sustainable floral arrangements is to go for organic flowers. This is always the best option, whether your blooms are home-grown or not. But if you can’t get locally sourced plants, recycled bouquets or grow your own, at least you can ask your local florist if they offer organic flowers and foliage.
Do you have any other tips for more sustainable flowers and foliage? Let us know in the comments if so!