While fresh flowers might seem like an all-natural gift, the floral industry produces a surprising amount of waste, as one worker’s photos show.
“I hate this,” said the frustrated worker in a Reddit post containing two photos they took at work.
The first photo shows what they identified as Margarita spider flowers, half a dozen lush yellow-and-white blossoms in a plastic-wrapped bunch. Each bloom is also individually surrounded with a stretchy plastic mesh that protects the petals for shipping.
The second photo is of a pile of dozens of the white plastic nets after they’ve been removed from the flowers.
“This goes for most of our flowers,” the employee complained. In a comment, they added, “I hate this job; it’s driving me insane with the waste. It’s on the same level as golf to me.”
That may seem like an exaggeration since golf is often called out for wasting billions of gallons of water and taking up acres of land that could be used for farms or housing, not to mention the pollution from fertilizer and herbicides.
However, a florist’s shop hides a surprising amount of waste — and not only are the costs of materials passed on to consumers, but the waste harms the planet, too.
“The packaging is only the tip of the iceberg of how wasteful the floral industry is,” said one commenter. “The foam is terrible for humans, animals, and the environment.”
The same commenter also laid out the incredible amount of pollution caused by growing, preserving, and transporting flowers, which contributes to the Earth’s dangerously high temperature. Meanwhile, the industry uses huge amounts of water and generates trash that clogs landfills. “Also, the workers growing the flowers are often exploited,” they added.
“There is definitely starting to be a movement of sustainable and eco-friendly floristry but it is still a very small niche,” the commenter concluded.
Normally, when a product is very wasteful, you can reduce your impact by buying secondhand. That isn’t an option with flowers, for obvious reasons. However, you can choose to buy locally to minimize shipping, choose brands that use less packaging, or grow your own. There are even bouquet rental services that provide real-looking flowers for events like weddings.
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