You don’t even want to know how many plastic wrapped roses we are going to get through on this one Valentine’s day.Oh you do? According to the Flowers & Plants Association, “sales of all fresh flowers double on Valentine’s day, with over 9 million red roses being given in the UK. Worldwide, billions of roses – mostly red – are traded on this one day alone.”
This is closely followed by Mothers Day which the Flowers & Plants Association goes on to say, is the biggest event in the UK’s cut flower year with a sales increase of up to 40% on a normal day’s trading.
Not to mention weddings…
Lets think about the amount all those flowers will create. All that plastic wrapping for a start. Now some people may tell you that flowers come cellophane wrapped and that cellophane is a plant based plastic and so biodegradable. Cellophane was indeed a plant based plastic. However as most piano keys are no longer made of ivory, most cellophane is now longer plant derived. The term cellophane has come to describe the petroleum based plastic product that looks and feels just like it. Many flowers come ready wrapped in plastic many florists use it.
And there’s more. Many flowers in the shops have been imported and come with hundreds of air miles attached. Nearly 80% of the cut flowers we buy in the UK are imported from The Netherlands, Colombia and Kenya.
In his comprehensive book, How Bad are Bananas?, Mike Berners-Lee calculates the amount of greenhouse gases (CO2e) released in the growing and transportation of a single red rose. It works out at
- 350g CO2e for a rose grown in Kenya and flown by air to the UK
- 2.1kg CO2e for one grown in a heated greenhouse in The Netherlands
The Kenyan rose is the better environmental option, but the Kenyan flower trade has had a very bad press deservedly so. Pressure brought to bear has forced some changes but it still uses too much water, too many pesticides and pays dreadfully low wages.
There is an argument that the trade helps support Kenyan trade.There is another argument that says the Kenyans should be growing food to feed themselves rather than flowers to ship out in return for a barely living wage to buy expensive food….
There is no doubt that floral decorations are very lovely so here are some ways to lesson the impact….
Walk away from the garage forecourt, go to a florist, buy unwrapped and insist it is wrapped in paper. Best take your own paper just to be sure.
Try to stick with seasonal, U.K. grown flowers if possible. Here is a list of seasonal flowers.
All I could get was an Amaryllis that was neither seasonal or locally grown but was at least #plasticfree.
U.K. Grown – collect
Here are a list of fantastic companies offering a greener option on locally grown cut flowers. The downside is you have to go and collect.
Not used this company but plan to do so. The flowers are lovely – see here. And so is the delivery! Answer to a request for info… let me know how you get on plastic free lovers.there is no plastic in our packaging. The flowers are wrapped in craft paper and we use Rafia to tie them. Regards, Carolyn
Test out your cutting and or folding skills.