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Why You Should Skip the Flowers This Valentine's Day and What You Can Do Instead

Updated: Feb 13

Before we dive into today's topic, a friendly reminder to our composting neighbors: please refrain from adding commercially grown flowers to our composting buckets. For a comprehensive list of what we accept, check out our composting guide here!

Valentine's Day is a time when people around the world express their love with flowers. Blooms play a significant role in this celebration of love. At Neighborhood Compost, we love love and flowers, particularly as symbols of affection on Valentine's Day. However, what we don't cherish is the significant negative environmental impact associated with purchasing commercially grown and imported blooms. From the rolls of plastic film to the packaging, foam floral blocks to soft plastic packets of fertilizer, the environmental impact of commercial flowers is far from rosy.

tulip bundles

The global cut flowers industry experiences a surge in demand during Valentine's Day, with millions of stems flown thousands of miles in refrigerated airplanes to meet consumer expectations. Based on estimates from the International Council on Clean Transportation, Valentine’s Day flowers cultivated in Colombia and transported to US airports in 2018 resulted in approximately 360,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. This equals around 78,000 cars driven for one year.

What's more is, at Neighborhood Compost, we choose not to compost commercially grown flowers with the rest of your organic matter. Why? Because they are loaded with preservatives and doused with pesticides so they can make the long haul in a refrigerated plane hold. These pesticides and preservatives are forever chemicals. They don't break down in our composting systems, and remain forever in our soil.

"Many of the flowers are grown in high-altitude, industrial-scale greenhouses (for disease, pest and humidity control), and these flower farms can exceed 500 acres. Flowers are also thirsty plants, which contributes to high water use and chemical runoff. For example, some critics claim that drought-stricken Lake Naivasha, the center of the industry in Kenya, has seen half of its water drawn off for use in flower greenhouses. "

This Valentine's Day, let's celebrate love in a way that honors both our relationships and our planet. Consider these alternatives when planning your gifts for loved ones: 

  • A potted plant: A gift that thrives year-round, symbolizing lasting growth and commitment.

  • Homemade delights: Whether it's a heartfelt card, baked goods, or a homemade dinner, it's the sentiment behind the gesture that truly matters.

  • Shared experiences: Disconnect from devices and reconnect with nature through a leisurely stroll or outdoor adventure.

  • Gifts that give back: Consider the ultimate eco-conscious gift—a Neighborhood Compost gift certificate, available in your customer portal. We wish you a Valentine's Day filled with connection, love, and joy, for each other and our planet.


Neighborhood Compost

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