The Flowers You Buy Can Help the Planet

When people talk about preserved flowers, many people immediately remember the old trend of dried flowers that were brittle and faded. You know, the ones you probably knocked over and shredded into a million pieces when you were disco dancing with your brother in the living room. Those! My grandmother used to make beautiful rose topiaries and all sorts of dried flower arrangements. It was great because you felt like you were extending the life of these flowers and it was less wasteful. Today, we take ecological awareness to another level, we look at how we can make even the smallest difference which is why we love the flower options we have now.

Regarding flowers and sustainability, one of the biggest issues is how they are transported from the growers to retailers everywhere. Throughout most of the year, flowers are sent to Miami, for instance, on passenger planes coming from Colombia and Ecuador that are flying here anyway, according to Amy Stewart, an investigative reporter and author of the book Flower Confidential. However, in the month prior to Valentine’s Day hundreds of planes fly to Miami loaded with over 15,000 tons of flowers a month.

Negative environmental consequences result from so many of these flights upon our planet. Transportation comprises 28 percent of the US’ total emissions and is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Once roses land in Miami, they are placed in refrigerated trucks that drive them across the country. The fresh flowers must be kept cold every step of the way or they will wilt. Since flowers are shipped without water, the humidity, temperature and a mixture of oxygen and CO2 is critical towards keeping them fresh.

This refrigeration causes trucks to burn more fuel, meaning they have greater carbon emissions than their non-refrigerated counterparts. So, what is a flower-loving, ecologically conscious person to do in order to help reduce the negative effects of this on the environment? One new and increasingly popular option is to minimize the number of flowers you buy and opt for low-energy consuming alternatives like preserved flowers. These are completely natural flowers and plants that have been grown in soil but have undergone a preservation process which allows their beauty to last anywhere from 1 to 3 years with no watering or direct sunlight. 

Preserved flowers do not require the rigorous transportation and storage needs of fresh flowers making them the preferred choice of those in the know. You get a much greater value because they last longer too. They are perfect for wedding decorations because you can keep as a memento or any occasion when you want to make a lasting impression. It's a win-win!