It's hard to imagine that something as gorgeous as a beautiful bunch of flowers carry such a huge carbon footprint with it. But did you know that flowers are one of the least eco friendly gifts that you can give?
Aside from the fact that they're thrown out into landfill or composted within the week, the majority of the world's cut flowers originate from warmer year-round climates such as South America and Africa. Huge amounts are grown in countries as far away as The Netherlands. Greenhouses are climate controlled and staffed with underpaid workers using pesticides, fungicides and herbicides and then shipped in cold storage all over the world, just to meet the demand for flowers during peak times such as Mother's Day, Valentine’s Day and peak wedding season.
You wouldn't want to work in conditions where you're surrounded by banned toxic pesticides and herbicides, so why would you want those flowers in your home or office?
This Mothers' Day, we challenge you to explore more eco friendly ways to brighten your mum's day. Here's a few ideas to get you started.
There are florists who specialise in eco friendly flowers. Organic and eco-friendly florists generally subscribe to environmentally friendly growing methods, compost their organic waste, recycle packaging, look after their workers and participate in carbon offset programs to balance out their remaining footprint. Others may use local growers only and avoid imported flowers all together.
Flowers that are in season, native or flowering all year round are those likely to be locally grown and much more eco friendly. Depending on where in Australia you are around Mother's Day, in season flowers include Chrysanthemum, Dahlia, Freesia, Hyacinth, Iris, Tulip, Hibiscus, Hydrangea, Poppy, Snapdragon, Camellia, Gardenia, Lemon Myrtle, some types of Lily and many more
Plant your flowers
Forget the cut flowers and opt for a more sustainable gift of seeds and a flower pot instead. Your loved ones can appreciate the beauty of flowers for much longer than a week, purifying the air at the same time.
If they have garden space, make it a tradition to plant something new each year. It's perfect for getting kids involved with and raising their awareness, too.
Look around you
DIY gifts can be the nicest gifts of all. Why not look around your veggie patch first? You'd be surprised at how much colour and texture you can find in the veggie garden, not to mention the practicalities of an edible bouquet. Kale, artichokes, herbs, chillies, carrots and carrot tops could make up a stunning edible bouquet that is both useful, beautiful and eco friendly.
Dried Flower Art
Remember pressing dried flowers between pages of the phone book when we were little kids? Here's another one to get the kids involved in. Pick flowers from your local environment in season, press between pages of a phone book or newspaper and weigh it down for a few weeks. For a floral gift that lasts a lifetime, arrange your dried flowers on art board and frame it or incorporate into other objects around the home. Here's a Pinterest board on pressed flower art
For the mother who just loves the aroma of fresh flowers, a more sustainable option may be floral scented gifts such as soaps, pot pourri, hand cream or eco friendly candles scented with her favourite flower, or even heat bags filled with wheat and lavender or orange blossom.
What's your ideas for an eco friendly Mothers' Day? Share in the comments below!
Image credit: David Stanley on Flickr
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