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Sustainability in my job as a florist: Ariella Hill on buying flowers
Discussing with Ariella Hill, founder of Raeblooms, about flowers and sustainability, I discovered that there are more sustainable options to consider even when buying flowers.
If you love a good flower bouquet in your home – who doesn’t?! – this is definitely for you. This is Gaia from @ssustainably_. I spoke to Ariella Hill to discover more about the impact of horticulture on our planet and of course, some options you can turn to for more eco-friendly ways to buy and take care of your flower bouquet.
Ps. Spring is my favourite season so I might be biased, but the beauty of nature is undeniable. If you love flowers like me you might have noticed that florists have much more variety during spring! I personally love giving flower bouquets as gifts, but I recently found out that they are actually pretty harmful for the planet…
Yes, your bouquet of flowers has an impact on the environment
The floriculture industry is a huge business and generates pretty substantial environmental impacts. Large amounts of energy are required to grow flowers which are often intensively farmed to keep up with the demand. The Netherlands (the largest producer of cut flowers) and the UK, are countries that experience significant cloud cover throughout the year meaning that their flowers are mainly grown in greenhouses, which are often heated through the combustion of natural gas and consequently release large amounts of CO2.
It is estimated more or less that 79% of energy used in the agriculture industry in The Netherlands is used in powering greenhouses for horticulture – note: these numbers always change, nevertheless the message is that the energy use is substantial. Carbon emissions are also significant when we consider that flowers are generally transported around the world in refrigerated containers.
The use of pesticides is another widespread issue when it comes to growing flowers, especially considering that flowers are not edible crops so they are exempt from regulations on pesticide residues. Pesticides are bad for the soil, groundwater, bees but also humans!
Farmers who have to deal with pesticides are also at risk because of their increased exposure to those chemicals. Similarly to fashion, waste is another issue for the floriculture industry. An estimated 400 million flowers were destroyed in the Netherlands in March 2020 alone.
How Ariella is working towards solutions
Like with fashion, flowers bring us joy, beauty and we shouldn’t just quit on them, but find solutions. Similarly to the slow fashion or slow food movement, some florists are doing things differently. One of them is Ariella Hill, founder of Raeblooms, a flower shop in the heart of Amsterdam.
She makes sure that the farmer she buys flowers from don’t use pesticides, she wraps her flowers with twigs and mesh that can be reused, she uses biodegradable foam when making arrangements and she delivers flowers around Amsterdam with her bike or electric car.
“I try my best, but I admit that I am not perfectly sustainable“.
Her approach is one of constant improvements, trying her best and taking small steps towards being more eco friendly.
Join Ariella in her efforts
The impact of the floriculture industry is global, requiring global solutions but as individuals, it’s fundamental we become part of the solution. For example you can make sure to support local florists like Ariella and ask them where they source their flowers.
Ariella continues with ways you can carry on the effort florists like her make “by making your flowers last longer! You can do so by changing the water and cutting the ends often and by keeping them away from direct heat and sunlight”.
Finally, if possible, composting flowers at the end of their life is a good option.
Perfect? No one is. Every step counts.
Combine your responsible flower bouquet from Rae Blooms with your responsible romantic dress:
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