Sustainable practices in Floral industry

  • January 11, 2021
  • By: paradiseflowersnyc
  • flowers
Sustainable practices in Floral industry

In the wake of recent times, we cannot stress more on the need for environmentally conscious practices, be it any industry.

Flowers are an earthly element, a beautiful embodiment of nature that brighten up our homes and hearts.

It is only fair to make their industry a sustainable one. But what does sustainability mean in context of the Floral industry?

There is no one way to go green in floristry, it must be a comprehensive and collaborated approach taking into consideration the multiple facets such as- local biodiversity, communities, supply chain, human welfare, education, etc. Let’s discuss these further:

  • Organic pesticides- Since the flowers farmed are not to be consumed, the restrictions & checks on chemical usage are a lot more relaxed. Consequently, the overuse of pesticides often damages the health of ecosystems in proximity. For example- the population of fish in Kenya’s Lake Naivasha collapsed due to run-offs from flower fields, making the lake toxic.  

A complex solution to this is using organic fertilizers and pesticides. Check for organic certifications on your suppliers like- National Organic Program (NOP) or United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) etc.

  • Locally sourced & seasonal- Nearly one-third of the USA’s flowers are imported from far-flung countries, mostly situated near the equator. Another estimate states that roughly 100 million roses in the US presented on Valentine’s Day, end up producing 9,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

In such cases, the cut flowers must go through multiple modes of transport in highly refrigerated containers in order to keep them fresh. This creates an astonishing amount carbon footprint.

Locally procured and cyclical blooms eliminate more than half of the carbon footprint. Traveling directly from farm to vase, they witness no time on an airplane, few miles on the road and little refrigeration. This also enables countries to keep a check on supply chain management & preserve employment of local businesses.

  • Water usage- Injurious chemicals seeping into local water sources is just part of the problem. Needless to say, the floral industry is a water-intensive one. Sources of irrigation are often sparse, putting undue pressure on already limited water bodies.

Encourage open conversations with suppliers regarding water conservation practices. You may also go through Floriculture Sustainability Initiative to stay updated with relevant news.

  • Waste Management- Floriculture produces 100,000 tons of plastic waste per annum, arising from- plastic film, plastic pots, plastic labels, plastic packaging, etc. A more harmful waste is floral foam which contains more harmful carcinogenic chemicals and as opposed to popular claims, it isn’t biodegradable. Continued exposure to its fumes is also lethal for the health of workers in the industry.

Chicken wire, curly willow, and pebbles are common substitutes for floral foam. Dealers need to be encouraged to use these along with alternatives for plastic and compost the biomass, thereby reducing waste going into landfills.

  • Certified florists- Various organizations in the US provide education and certifications to suppliers in order to prevail best eco-friendly practices within the industry. You may look out for the stamps of- Veriflora, Bloomcheck, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, etc. The choices of ecological suppliers can be found in the list below:
  • Education & awareness- The first step towards resolving any dilemma is aware of it. Only then we can possibly empower ourselves with tools for making any positive change. Luckily, we got you covered for this. Be aware and vocal about the above requirements. You may use the guides from the following link to evoke the needed conversation:

A seemingly benevolent and cheerful industry, but with hidden environmental and human implications.

What we have described above can be roughly summed up into ‘responsible consumption’. Hope what we wrote really reached you and motivates you to accommodate greener practices while making your next purchase. 

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