Sustainability is at the core of Bloomsday - this is not a new fact.
But it’s hard to explain the depth of my efforts in a tiny website blurb, let alone an instagram caption! So here’s a bit more detail on one of my biggest eco practices:
Bleach and dye. THUMBS DOWN.
Florists all over the country, and likely the world, are getting on board with a huge trend of dried flowers. Which is so much fun, everyone loves a comeback.
The problem is the use of dyed and bleached flowers and foliage. Bloomsday is decidedly not on board with this one. Heck no.
The majority of these materials are imported (hello carbon footprint), from places with questionable working conditions. Here’s what goes on in those factories to make those #gramworthy fleurs:
Firstly, the plants have to be treated to break down the cell walls + structure, and remove the colour. Then more chemicals are applied to stop the plants from yellowing. All these chemicals have done such a job that MORE are needed to remove the smell!
Think names like hypochlorites, peroxide, hydrosulphite, barium hydroxide, aluminium sulphate ETCETERA!
Then (yes, still going), the plant needs calcium chloride and glycerine to be added. Why? Because without them, the plant is literally too weak to hold itself without crumbling.
At wholesale costs, these ‘preserved’ flowers and foliage stems aren’t too much more expensive than regular NZ-grown fresh product. When you add up the costs of all the chemicals, facilities, packaging, and transport, let alone the growing of the original plant - this doesn’t leave much room for paying the workers doing the processing. I don’t even want to imagine their working conditions.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not some chemical-phobe. I know it’s a buzz-word for the old scare tactics, but that’s not what my aim is here. A) literally everything is made from chemicals. B) “chemicals” are useful. For example: to tackle Kauri dieback - spray your shoes people!!
However: When I can’t be certain that these chemicals are being used in safe conditions, for the workers AND the environment - it’s an easy no from me.
If I can choose flowers grown in New Zealand, where I can make a much safer bet that the workers have fair pay and human rights, I will. And if I can choose flowers that are gorgeous and colourful without using a zillion chemical processing steps, hell yes I will.
Choose your flowers wisely, and please SPREAD THE WORD!