Eco Friendly Bouquet: Guilt-Free Beauty

Eco Friendly Bouquet: Guilt-Free Beauty

Rose bundle

Blooms that keep the earth beautiful

There’s no denying it! Valentine’s Day means chocolate, jewellery and flowers. But have you ever thought about where those flowers come from? I hadn’t until a few years back when I was talking to my wedding planner about sourcing a small bouquet for my elopement in Iceland. When the quotes for the bouquets came through, I found out all of my ideal flowers were imported, which is why they were so expensive! After a quick Google, I found out that florists all over the world import flowers. Who knew?!

What are some of the problems?

Kiwis both import and export cut flowers all year round - we send over $20m worth of cut flowers every year, with $5m worth of cut flowers going to North America alone.  

Over six million Indian roses are sold in New Zealand each year at a lower price point than local roses - that undercuts our local producers and creates a larger carbon footprint. 

Pesticides are also an issue – pesticide regulations and restrictions are looser in India, meaning your roses have possibly been exposed to greater quantities of insecticides. Many of those pesticides may not even be approved for use in New Zealand and could be wreaking havoc on the local land, insects and communities.

Cut flowers coming into New Zealand also have to be fumigated before they’re shipped here, to ensure no biosecurity risks are hiding behind a petal or on a leaf. That means those cheaper flowers don’t last anywhere near as long, nor is their scent as beautiful.

As these flowers are so cheap, it does make me wonder, what are the conditions in which the producers are made to work? Are they paid fairly for their efforts, treated well and do they have safety gear when spraying pesticides?

What can we do as consumers?

Shop local
It’s so easy to pop online and order a bouquet for delivery, but instead, why not take a stroll to your local florist? Ask which flowers were grown locally and stick to those. There’s no doubt the result will be beautiful and have a far smaller footprint.

Take a jar
Just like most things these days, flowers come with packaging. If you take a jar, you can skip the plastic wrapper, and put the blooms straight into water.

Gift a whole plant
If you think about it, flowers aren’t that great a metaphor for love or friendship – they’re beautiful but dead! Instead, consider gifting a live plant – ideally a native. 

Forage or grow your own
Set off on your walk in the wild with a small bucket or basket in hand and let the foraging begin! Not only does it save you money but also ensures your bouquet is seasonal and ethical. Plus, handpicked bouquets have that little extra bit of love! Do be mindful of where you forage, though – your neighbours might not appreciate you emptying their flower bed!  

Don’t gift flowers at all
If giving nothing isn’t an option, there are other ways to show your love. Some more ethical options include experiences – a home-cooked dinner, a picnic or a movie date.

Whatever you gift, whatever you receive, or whatever you do, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sources: New Zealand exports of cut flowers.

Fresh Facts: New Zealand Horticulture 2018.

Easy Freight: 2 Shocking Facts You Need to Know About Imported Flowers.