Mothers Day is on Sunday, March 19th this year, so there is time to think and avoid being trapped into getting the most unsustainable flowers at the last minute from the supermarket.
There are three major sustainability problems with growing flowers:
- heated greenhouses
- air freight from far-off lands
- heavy use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers
To a certain extent, the first two are mutually exclusive – the reason for growing flowers in exotic locations is that it is actually cheaper since the warm climate means there’s no need for a heated greenhouse.
Growing flowers in poorer countries though raises the issue of workforce exploitation, but many flowers are sold under the Fair Trade label which solves that issue.
There’s also a solution to the polluting and dangerous use of agrochemicals (some flowers are so heavily drenched in toxins that it’s not recommended to put them in a worm bin or compost). Organic florists though are hard to come by!
Sustainable Flowers Online
There is an internet florist called the Great British Florist who is not organic but uses only locally grown and obviously seasonal flowers. EcoCounts at some point plans to anoint them with our seal of approval, having used them. There is also a promising directory called Flowers from the Farm which lists multiple florists and flower growers.
To conclude, lilies, alstroemerias and snapdragons grown in the UK will have the lowest carbon footprints, according to studies, and a mixed British bouquet will be easier on the CO2 than an imported one.
More on sustainability is listed in our Top Ten Tips.