Giving someone flowers is a thoughtful gesture but we often overlook the environmental impact. According to one estimate, the roughly 100 million roses grown for a typical Valentine’s Day in the United States produces about 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Don’t know what to do with that beautiful bouquet of flowers from Valentine’s Day? Rather than tossing them in the trash, consider these three options.
Many people don’t realize that flowers can be composted. When flowers decompose in landfills, they release methane gas when they decompose in landfills.
Composting dead or wilting flowers is a great way to make natural fertilizer. As your flowers begin to die, individual buds or stems can be removed to start the process of composting. When you put organic materials, such as flowers or yard waste, in your compost, they’re used to create healthy new soil. Healthy soil plays a lot of important roles in our environment, including absorbing and filtering water and transferring nutrients to new plant life.
Dry your bouquets
Hang bouquets upside down to dry them out. Choose a dark, dry area with good circulation, such as an attic or unused closet. With unflavored dental floss, secure the bottom of the flowers’ stems to a hanger so that they hang upside down to dry. Leave flowers for 2-3 weeks until completely dry.
You can also follow a similar process to dry out the petals for potpourri:
- Remove petals
- Spread the petals on a screen and let them dry in a warm and dry place for 2-3 days
- Separately, dry some whole rose buds, some lavender, some rosemary, orange peels, or other additives you’d like to include
- In a bowl, combine the dried petals and other additives you have prepared. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
- Pour the mixture into a Mason jar. Cover the mouth with Saran wrap. Store the jar in a cool dark place for 6 weeks.
- In 6 weeks the mixture will be blended and ready to go!
By choosing one of these methods to divert flower waste from a landfill, you are helping to create change. And remember…small gestures are what helps to create lasting change.
Giving flowers doesn’t have to be a wasteful gesture. Our non-profit, Petals for Hope, helps to facilitate donations from large events and weddings, as well as funerals. These flowers are diverted to those who could use some joy such as nursing homes, hospice centers, and shut ins. Provided with each of the floral donations is a compost bag which we then pick up to compost. This means no flowers are thrown away…like ever. Learn more about our process here.