The fresh flowers that we buy for our homes and offices and give to our loved ones come at a significant expense and it’s about time that we think about the genuine cost of our flower affection…
You would be amazed at the number of environmental costs of using fresh flowers! Regardless of whether you’re supplying a business or looking to spoil a loved one, purchasing flowers for individuals and businesses who care about the earth can be rather problematic.
You may have heard about ‘food miles’, the growing trend of buying food that has been locally grown, locally produced or locally made. The benefit? A great way of reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring our planet stays beautiful. Well, the same principle applies to fresh flowers.
Here we look at 3 aspects that cost the environment when using fresh flowers:
The environmental cost of fresh flowers transported.
The majority of fresh cut flowers are grown in greenhouses in Central and South America, Africa and Europe. In order for these flowers to reach the consumer, they must be packaged and flown by aeroplane across the world. For the duration of the transit, the flowers must be kept refrigerated to ensure their freshness. Studies have shown that during a single valentine’s day in the US, fresh flowers flown in from South America produced 9000 tons of CO2, equivalent to over 4 million liters of consumed gasoline.
The environmental cost of fresh flowers planted.
Since flowers are not edible crops, regulators are not hard and fast on pesticide laws, therefore flowers carry significantly more pesticides that that is allowed on food. About one-fifth of the chemicals used in the floriculture industry in developing countries are banned in the US. Pesticides like Methyl Bromide is used during the growing process and is highly toxic and even when the flower has completed its life cycle, it ends up in a land fill where it decomposes producing methane, another greenhouse gas. This is hazardous to humans and destructive to the ozone layer with an Ozone Depletion Potential.
The environmental cost of fresh flowers watered.
Water use is also a huge issue. Increasingly, water is being exported through trade from some of the most water-stressed countries. For example, cut flowers account for 45 per cent of Kenya’s water exports.
It is no surprise then that artificial flowers continue to grow in popularity, and the global artificial flower market is now valued at over 1.6 Billion USD. With the use of recyclable materials, no need for pesticides, the emissions benefit of transport by sea, and the product lasting for years, it is now quite easy to convince your customer that Silk really does make Sense.