Everyone loves flowers. Whether they’re bouquets for a wedding or a surprise mail delivery just because, it’s hard to find something unlikable about beautiful blooms of vibrant flowers that smell wonderful.
But there are two big detractors for the world of cut flowers: their often negative impact on the environment, and the fact that they don’t last very long. Working to solve the first problem are floral shops like Little Bud Flowers positioning themselves to offer online gift and subscriptions services for flowers that are in-season and ethically grown.
Solving the second problem, there are all kinds of great ways to reuse old cut flowers. Country Living gleaned insights from Little Bud’s founders, Georgina Duffin and Laura Brummer, for four easy things you can do with your old bouquets to make a lasting statement piece at home.
The environmental cost of floral arrangements is staggering.
Almost 80 percent of cut flowers in the United States were grown in countries such as Colombia and Ecuador. Demand in this country is insane—Valentine’s Day sees sales of around 200 million stems of roses alone—so growers in tropical areas use all kinds of fung- herb- and insect-icides to ensure flowers reach full maturity. And a shocking 20 percent of those chemicals are actually banned in the United States or Europe. Which is definitely very bad, considering the workers who are constantly being exposed to the stuff.
But back to the flowers. They get cut, refrigerated, and transported by truck, plane, then truck again, to a florist shop or supermarket where the plants are refrigerated yet again. Eventually, someone will buy the flowers—which are wrapped up in cellophane, stems inserted into plastic caps filled with water, and delivered to the object of someone’s affection.
The solution may not be terribly complicated.
Little Bud and other floral shops like it are making it easier for people to find and buy ethically sourced flowers: in season, unpoisoned, and not subject to extreme carbon (and other) emissions that are terrible for the environment.
Little Bud has jumped on the subscription train of at-home meal kits and shave clubs to bring you fresh, eco-friendly flowers as of its launch June 19 with your choice of frequency. The company will offer three bouquet sizes each week using three types of stems that are “fairly grown and naturally in season,” according to Little Bud’s website. “Our aim is to do for flowers what the organic and fair-trade movements have done for food and clothes.”
All you do is pick the time of day, place and frequency of delivery (once, weekly, etc.), and everything else is taken care of—proving it doesn’t have to be inconvenient to be ethical.
Extending the life of your bouquets is the right (and green) thing to do.
Georgina Duffin and Laura Brummer were in a consulting office when the idea dawned on them to create a flower company with a conscience. “We decided to apply our know-how from working in development and sustainability onto our mutual passion for flowers, doing what we both really love,” the two say on their website.
Part of a commitment to the environment means reusing items in order to extend their lives, and limiting our embedded “throwaway culture.” This applies perfectly to floral bouquets, which so often get tossed on the compost heap as soon as an event ends or petals start to wilt. Duffin and Brummer offered the following ideas to folks at Country Living for ideas that will breathe new life into your bouquet.
Dry them. Make a large, new bouquet with dried herbs, flowers, and other plants, then hang them in your kitchen.
Preserve the petals in jars. Put the petals of your flowers into mason or other jars for gorgeous interior decorations. You can also take the petals and use them in the making of soaps and candles.
Separate and press them. Individual petals and flowers stuck between pages in a thick book until dried make for lovely keepsakes, decoration, or greeting cards. You can even find services that will take flowers from a memorable moment in your life and press them between glass.
More from Green Matters