Plastic finds its way into all corners of our lives - even those pretty places that are meant to make us feel good, like sending flowers to a loved one or brightening up your home with a fresh bunch of blooms. Florist Diana Moore shares five ways to take a sustainable approach to shop-bought flowers and avoid the plastic trap.
1. Buy locally grown flowers
You’d be surprised how many flowers are grown overseas - some as far away as The Netherlands and Ecuador - so have sometimes travelled the world before they arrive to your kitchen bench. Reduce your carbon footprint by asking where flowers are grown before you buy and where possible stick to those grown in Australia. You’ll be supporting Australian flower growers too!
2. Buy your flowers straight from the grower
Some lucky people enjoy a rural lifestyle and can buy blooms straight from the farm gate. Others are in the city and able to visit the growers at the flower markets. For most of us, however, the local produce market is where you’ll most likely find a flower vendor selling bunches of locally grown flowers. Even your local flower shop should be able to tell you where their flowers have been grown. Ask the question and seek out florists who’s environmental ethos aligns with your own. In any case, look and learn - each will have a wealth of knowledge to share around flower care and seasonality.
3. Buy in season
Just like fruit and veggies, the availability of flowers changes with the seasons. Keep an open mind and buy your blooms in season from what’s on offer, rather than sticking to something simply because it matches your lounge room. Foster a good relationship with your local florist or flower vendor and familiarise yourself with what’s new and locally grown. Keep things simple and buy a whole bunch (or two!) straight from the bucket to arrange yourself, rather than having a mixed bunch made up.
4. Avoid box arrangements
Show us your stems! Opt for a cut bunch, rather than an arrangement that uses floral foam. Sure it’s reusable and has inbuilt flower preservatives, but floral foam is actually made from plastic that breaks down with use and causes plastic fibres and microplastics to find their way down our sinks with water and ultimately into our oceans. Instead, have your florist wrap a bunch simply in paper - it’s easier to arrange in a vase at home anyway! Visit @nofloralfoam for flower arranging tips.
5. Reuse or recycle the wrapping
Many flowers are still wrapped in plastic sleeves to protect them on their journey from grower to you, so sometimes it’s hard to avoid plastic altogether. If this is the case, recycle the wrapping with your soft plastics or reuse by scrunching into the base of an opaque vase to form a support when arranging stems.
Diana’s Top tips for arranging flowers at home
- Fill a clean vase with fresh water and flower food, or a teaspoon each of bleach and sugar
- Remove leaves from stems below the waterline
- Cut at least 1.5cm from stems on an angle before placing in water
- Change water every 2 days and recut stems
- Remove wilted flowers to freshen display
About the author
Diana Moore is an experienced lifestyle and home editor with a passion for food, flowers, family and friendship.