Flower Power

Hey Everyone!

I’ve got a confession… I love cut flowers. I love them from my husband. I love them for table decoration and centerpieces. I love to give them to my Nana. Why is this a bad thing you’re asking? Well, because they are one of the least environmentally friendly ways to say “I love you” or “Welcome!”.

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Approximately 78% of cut flowers imported to North America are grown in Columbia and Ecuador where the climate is better suited for year round growing. This distance from grower to market means that flowers are not only shipped a great distance in refrigerated trucks, but also treated with a variety of pesticides and fungicides and preservatives to guarantee that the flowers arrive in the best shape possible. According to a 2007 study conducted by the International Labor Rights Forum, 20% of the chemicals used to treat cut flower crops are banned in North America and the European Union. This means that both the environment and the workers producing cut flowers are exposed to chemicals we have deemed unacceptable and dangerous. Typically workers in these industries are women and children, which historically have been the victims of workplace hazards.

Once the flowers reach their destination they are once again stored in refrigerated warehouses, then shipped to florists and then again stored in refrigerated units waiting to be arranged and sold. Are you seeing a trend here? Once those flowers are enjoyed by their owner, they then are either tossed or composted- neither of which are ideal or make up for the enormous carbon footprint they walked in with.

So, what can we do? Live life with no stunning centerpieces? (Gasp!) Well fear not, I have some green suggestions to fill the flower void.

  1. Use your existing houseplants in an artful arrangement. Mix odd numbers of plants of varying heights (3 is what I found worked best) and perhaps a tray, vases and or an interesting runner for a green alternative.

    From Mariage Original
  2. Go Silk! Silk flowers aren’t what they used to be, and now many are available in “real touch” or “natural touch” options, meaning that they not only look like real flowers, but they feel like real flowers. Available online and at some craft retailers like Michael’s. It might be an initial investment, but this long lasting option will pay itself off in no time if you are a regular cut flower purchaser.
    Silk Flower Centrepiece
    Silk Flower Centrepiece by Oheverythinghandmade.com
  3. Buy Organic. USDA certified organic and Veriflora cut flowers are available at Whole Foods and online through specific retailers. These certifications ensure that laborers and the environment are protected from harmful chemicals and that fair wages are paid.
  4. Alternative Gifts. Normally get your spouse or mother flowers? Next time head to your local nursery or online and pick out a lovely decorative flower pot and some organic flower seeds like these from West Coast Seeds. Not only can you plant them together, but they will think of you every time they water them!
    Alternative Gift
    Give a gift which lasts. A beautiful card, seeds of their favorite flowers and a terracotta pot makes this a memorable gift.
  5. Go Without (Gasp!) Have you ever walked into someone’s home and thought “geezz, where are the flowers?” I bet Never. Yes they are a lovely touch if you’re playing hostess, but in all reality, no one is going to miss them. Opt for candles instead if you feel that your table it bare, but honestly you’re guests are really just happy to see you.

In general, decorating with houseplants instead of cut flowers can benefit you and the environment by reducing emissions created by the floral industry but also by purifying your indoor air. Plants such as palms and spider plants are particularly great for filtering out household air pollution relieving asthma and allergy symptoms in many.

Increase your household sustainability by adopting one of these green alternatives to cut flowers and share with me your ideas and suggestions in the comment section below!

Cheers- Heather

(Note: This post may contain affliliate links. If you choose to purchase something from these links, I will relieve a small fee from these partners to thank me for sending you their way. This supports Cedar Coast and allows me to create great content for you all. It will not impact your purchase price.

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