image of dried blooms in purples, pinks and blushes arranged on the left hand side of a white background

Are dried flowers sustainable? The hidden costs of the dried flower trend

You only have to spend a little bit of time on Instagram or Pinterest to see that the popularity of dried flowers has soared in the last year. Homes across social media are brimming with images of elegantly arranged dried bouquets. We get it. They are charming and deliver a certain kind of coveted aesthetic allure. 

The problem is that dried flower bouquets are often presented as sustainable alternatives to fresh flowers. But is this really true? 

Unfortunately, the answer to ‘are dried flowers sustainable’ is no. A deeper investigation into the production processes and environmental impact of dried flowers shows the reality. Let’s take a look.

Are dried flowers sustainable?

dried flowers, some natives and some pine cones and seeds in greys and whites and light greens to answer the question are dried flowers sustainable

Contrary to the popular narrative that dried flowers are sustainable, the dried flower industry actually poses a number of eco threats. Many of these threats are the same as the fresh flower industry experiences. And they simply flow through to the dried flower industry. 

But there are other threats to sustainability that are unique to the dried flower industry.

Extensive use of chemicals

image of a green field with a man in a mask spraying it with chemicals with a commercial machine for are dried flowers sustainable

Unfortunately, many flowers are grown with the use of pesticides and other chemicals. This is particularly true for flowers grown overseas and imported into Australia

For one thing, overseas commercial farming ventures often use excessive pesticides. For another, Australian biosecurity laws often require additional fumigation before flowers are shipped to Australia or when they arrive. 

What that means is that unless you know that your dried flowers have come from a local grower and are grown without the use of pesticides or other chemicals, they’ll come to the dried flower bouquets with at least one round of chemicals applied, if not many more! 

Once the fresh flowers arrive for drying, even more chemicals are used. In fact, many dried flowers undergo treatments involving harsh chemicals for bleaching and hardening. Driers often also apply anti-mould chemicals. 

All these chemicals pose risks to our environment, including our water and soil quality. And they also contribute to the accumulation of pollutants. 

Plastic usage

Hand holding bunch of tiny pieces of plastic in multicoloured with the beach in the background for are dried flowers sustainable

Commercial driers also use coatings of water-soluble plastics to help dried flowers to look ‘fresh’. Plastic pollution is considered one of the causes of global change. Scientists have detected the presence of microplastics in our oceans, lakes and rivers. And today they’ve become part of the food chain in our ocean and freshwater life. Research shows these impacts are widespread, affecting our entire food web. 

Energy intensive processes

Preserving dried flowers commercially requires energy-intensive processes, such as heat treatments. These add to the carbon footprint of the industry. And because they are ‘preserved’, dried flower bouquets can be shipped far and wide. These carbon emissions are then factored into their overall footprint significantly counteracting any sustainability that they might otherwise boast.  

Drying your own blooms – a great sustainable option

fresh white and green flower bouquet for DIYing your own dried flower bouquets and answering the question are dried flowers sustainable

The answer to ‘are dried flowers sustainable’ is unfortunately no… when it’s a commercial endeavour. But drying your own flowers can be a hugely sustainable undertaking. 

Dried flowers last a long time which means you’re spending less on blooms (another benefit). It also means you’re purchasing less, contributing to less shipping and lowering your overall carbon footprint.

When you dry your own flowers, you can also ensure that you’re sourcing locally grown, chemical-free flowers for your dried flower bouquets. This is great for our local economy, and much better for our local environment too.  

Finally, you can focus on drying flowers that are in season (better for the environment!). But as dried flowers last a long time, enjoy them even when they’re out of season. This lessens our reliance on imported flowers generally.

Preserving flowers at home is easy too with air drying! Why not try it today?

Sourcing your flowers for sustainable dried flower bouquets!

If you want to give drying your own flowers for a sustainable dried flower bouquet, get in touch. Our team is more than happy to help you find just the right blooms for your décor, theme, holiday or more!