NEW DELHI: Come Valentine’s Day and the flower boutiques across get busy as the go-to place for those who want to celebrate love. However, the amount of single-use plastic waste that comes with a bouquet of flowers is enormous, and so is the number of artificially coloured flowers. We ask leading flower gifting brands whether eco-friendly initiatives are on their manifesto of conveying love.
“We have always been conscious about the environment and for over a year now, we’ve been ensuring that plastic usage is minimal,” says Pawan Gadia, CEO, Online and Retail, Ferns N Petals. He points to the fact how a couple of state governments have banned single-use plastic specifically at high-end florists.
“So, we have been continuously minimising the use of cellophane products and introducing paper and cloth-based wrapping. Also, the sale of artificial flowers which earlier was around 15 per cent of our top line, has gone down to five per cent. The gap of 10 has been replaced by fresh plants.”
In terms of gifting, Gadia has done away with the sleeve that covers the final box. “When we discontinued the sleeve, we started using single-use plastic to make sure no theft takes place. But now, we are using only degradable cardboard boxes.”
Sagar Pahwa and Sadhvi Chawla, Co-Founders, Rose Boutique India, explain that their brand’s packaging is mainly boxes and containers made using eco-friendly biodegradable paper.
“We encourage our customers to reuse the boxes for storage, decoration or as containers, once the fresh roses wither. Our eternal roses [real roses that live for three-five years without water or special maintenance] have the same eco-friendly packaging, and there’s no single-use plastic to be used. Also, these roses don’t need water, which eliminates all kinds of wastage,” the duo says.
Another venture, MyFlowerTree.com founded in 2009 by Sumit Chhabra, delivers products to 408 Indian cities.
“To fight the plastic menace, we have launched paper packaging and box arrangements that people are welcoming,” says Chhabra. He’s completely against using artificial sprays to accentuate the aesthetic value of the flowers.
“While a few people in the market use artificial sprays, I believe it spoils the life and the overall appearance. It might look good for the first 15-20 minutes, but as the spray or the colour gets infused into the flower, it kills the flower, and by the time it reaches its destination, the flower may not look as it should be. So, we refrain from using such items.”
Having been in the industry for almost 10 years, Chhabra says the perennial trend of red roses is yet to die out. “We have done a few experiments in the past, and even recently, to see if the consumer behaviour is changing [concerning this trend], but it has yet to. I don’t think that even in the next 10 years red roses will be replaced. However, it is the packaging of the roses that keeps on changing, be it gifted in a bouquet or a heart-shaped box.”Even Gadia seconds this statistics.
“Majority of the flowers that are sold are red roses. These contribute to a 75-80 per cent share, followed by pink roses and carnations, which work for everyone because of their price and availability,” adds Gadia.
Let’s talk numbers
This season, Gadia is looking at a 25 per cent rise in sales this Valentine’s day compared to last year. While, in terms of the revenue, MyFlowerTree.com clocks somewhere around 15 crores in February.