There’s nothing quite like a beautiful bouquet of flowers to instantly brighten your home, your special event, or your day. But the environmental impact caused by the flower industry might cast a shadow over the way you see cut flowers. Overall, the cut flowers from farm to vase are anything but sustainable. It may seem odd that Country Greenery includes sustainability in our company description, but it means something to our customers and to our company.
What are sustainable flowers? Sustainability is more than a buzzword or a sales pitch: It is the difference between products that nourish the planet and those that cause it harm. You may wonder how something as natural as floral arrangements can be unsustainable, and the answer may surprise you. Air miles, plastic packaging, water consumption, and pesticide use—all of these contribute to the dark side of the floral industry. It’s why we believe that sustainable flowers matter, and it drives our work to make sure our flowers leave a positive impact not just on our customers, but on our planet, too.
What the Flower Industry Is Hiding
How Far Will You Go?
Have you ever wondered how it's possible to buy tropical flowers any time of the year? The answer is simple: Around 70% of the cut flowers sold in America are imported from flower farms in warmer climates around the world. From South America to Africa, industrial flower farms cultivate warm-weather varieties to ship to more temperate (and affluent) nations. To get these flowers to customers, after they cut and package them, they ship them in refrigerated trucks to refrigerated planes and then load them onto more refrigerated trucks and eventually deliver them to their retail destinations. Refrigerated trucks consume considerably more fuel than normal trucks. The amount of energy it takes to transport these blooms is astonishing—and completely unsustainable.
The greater distance a bouquet has to travel to get to you, the more negative impact it has on the environment through the energy required to transport it.Plastic Is Forever
Flowers may only last a matter of days, but the plastic they come packaged in is forever. Nonbiodegradable packing materials add to the carbon footprint of cut flowers, further reducing their sustainability score. While plastic packing materials can seem unavoidable, there are environmentally friendly alternatives. Many companies are beginning to embrace bioplastics, plastic-like materials made from ingredients such as corn instead of petrochemicals. When you order flowers, look for packaging made of recycled or biodegradable materials.
Asking companies what types of plastic they use will help guide your buying decisions, but can also be the starting point for important conversations within a business. Don’t be afraid to look into the packaging practices of floral providers and to ask if they have considered alternatives. You can help demonstrate how sustainability matters by voting with your dollars.A Trail of Toxins
Food crops are highly regulated, with tight controls governing the types of pesticides allowed, the frequency of application, and the volume of chemicals used. The floral industry has no such regulation, which means that flowers grow with the aid of toxic chemicals applied without strict controls. Unfortunately, this laissez-faire approach to pesticides results in long-term damage to the air, soil, water, and even the workers handling them.
Grimmer yet, requirements for imported flowers include dipping them in fungicides in order to comply with international import regulations. Those chemically treated flowers don’t smell quite as sweet now, do they? Because they're not intended for consumption, conventionally grown flowers are treated with a steady stream of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.How Sustainable Flowers Are Different
Close to You
The closer a flower farm is to your location, the easier it is to deliver them to your doorstep the day after cutting them. Locally grown blooms are not only the freshest, but also leave the lightest impact on the environment. Flowers picked and packed to order don’t spend time in cold storage warehouses, which further reduces the amount of energy they use. Shorter travel times equal farm-fresh flowers that take less energy to get from here to there, which is something you can feel good about.A Lighter Touch on the Land
Sustainable flower production is committed to using less water, natural fertilizers, and cutting out pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides from the growing process. What this actually means is that the land where flowers are grown is healthier and supports the surrounding ecosystems. The air quality and waterways surrounding sustainable flower farms have less pollution than those around conventional flower farms. When you choose sustainably grown flowers, you support agriculture that respects the planet and the customer by keeping harsh chemicals out of the picture.Pollinator and People-Friendly
The past decade has been tough on bees, thanks to droughts, fires, and chemicals on crops. Flowers and pollinators are natural partners, which is why sustainable growing methods are so important to our winged friends. Food crops that we rely on depend on armies of pollinators to help them produce fruit, nuts, and vegetables—which is why pollinators are so important to us! Pesticide-free flower farming ensures that pollinators can continue to thrive, even if they stop to smell the flowers.
Of course, the human impacts of sustainable flowers cannot be overstated. Neither the workers who grow, pick, and pack sustainably grown flowers, nor the customers who buy them are forced to come into contact with agrichemical residue. And last, but certainly not least, the customers who receive the flowers at the end of the line can enjoy the beauty of their blooms without the tiniest twinge of doubt.
Floral arrangements should fill a room with joy, brighten up days, and add life and color to special events. Sustainably grown flowers allow you to simply enjoy the beauty of the blooms without wondering where they came from and whether they’ve caused harm along the way. Country Greenery works hard to build sustainability into your bouquet, from farm to vase. From our family to yours: We believe that sustainable flowers smell sweeter.