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How to chose environmentally friendly wedding flowers

 

Firstly, why does it matter?

Many of us are trying to reduce the carbon footprint of our lifestyles to help avoid climate change. Choosing seasonal flowers from a local grower can reduce the carbon footprint by up to 90% compared to imported flowers*. The average imported bouquet creates 32kg/co2 compared with a British grown bouquet of 3.2kg/co2*.


The cut flower industry in the UK has such a high carbon footprint because many cut flowers grown year-round in heated greenhouses, or flown to the UK from warmer climates. The UK is one of the largest importers of cut flowers in the world, bringing in around £750 million of cut flowers per year** and since 1995 imports significantly increased, with British grown flowers now only accounting for around 14% of flowers sold in the UK.

 

There are also many other aspects to the floral industry that also have a negative impact on the environment from using single use plastics, floral foam (which is a microplastic that gets into our waterways), dying and bleaching flowers, to putting green waste into land-fill.

 

So how can you chose wedding flowers that are as sustainable as possible?

  

Chose local, seasonal flowers where possible

Flowers that are in season will be more readily available locally. They may also be of higher quality than imported alternatives that have been forced to bloom out of season or treated with chemicals. Your florist can help you think about what flowers are available seasonally. My top tip is to think about the texture and shape of the flower you want rather than a specific variety – then it’s easier to look for seasonal options.

 

Choose someone who cares

Look for a florist who works with local/British flowers and specialises in environmentally conscious approaches. This includes using sustainable mechanics for arrangements as alternatives to floral foam and single use plastic dishes. They will also be able to provide you with tailored information on choosing seasonal, local flowers. I am a member of Flowers from the Farm, which is the British Association for artisan flower farmers and florists that specialise in sustainability. This is a great organisation you can use to find experienced florists with a passion for the environment.

 

Repurpose your flowers after the big day

This is a great way to give your flowers a second life. They can be dried or rearranged. Many local charities such as hospices take donations of flowers after events. When flowers have faded, components can also be composted, and containers be re-used and recycled.

 

The most important thing, is firstly to find someone who cares and secondly to be open and flexible when discussing environmentally conscious options. A good florist will have the experience to turn your ideas into something gorgeous, whilst still being kind to the environment.

 


* Research from Lancaster University 2017

**Data supplied by The Sustainable Cut Flowers Project, Coventry University Centre for Business and Society.

 

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