FloweRescue - Saving and Repurposing Flowers to Ensure Floral Sustainability

An initiative that focuses on reusing discarded flowers, hence ensuring that these flowers do not go to waste.

By: THURSD. | 28-02-2024 | 10 min read
Floral Designs Flowers Sustainability
FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability

Waste and sustainability challenges are becoming increasingly prominent in the modern-day flower industry and overall floristry. As a result, there is an organization that has a unique approach to addressing these issues while spreading the beauty and cheer that flowers hold for longer. 

FloweRescue, a charitable organization based in Helsinki, Finland, has been making a significant impact on flower sustainability by rescuing flowers and repurposing them; connecting them with people who can, in turn, continue to appreciate their beauty in varied ways. 

History and the Idea Behind FloweRescue

The idea of FloweRescue is a fascinating one dating back to its inception in December 2018. This was in direct reaction to the issue of local floral waste. The organization was founded with the belief that no flower should go to waste before sufficiently bringing joy to someone else's life. 


 FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Senior citizens work with flowers in FloweRescue's programs.


It all began with a simple idea to rescue flowers that would, otherwise, be discarded. FloweRescue believed that these blossoms could be repurposed to create even more beauty and delight. The organization's journey started with a small group of dedicated individuals who recognized the immense potential of saving flowers from various sources, including events, weddings, and florists. 

FloweRescue explains:

“We share a love of flowers and a concern about the overall lack of sustainability in the floral industry. Together, we simultaneously work to combat floral waste and to bring flowers to the people who need them most.”


FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Salvaging and reusing flowers ensures floral sustainability.


By collecting these flowers, FloweRescue has been able to prevent them from ending up in landfills and instead transform them into spectacular floral arrangements that could still brighten up the lives of others. Since its inception, it has rescued more than 170,000 flowers, donating them to people who are at risk of marginalization or social exclusion.

The Concept and Works of FloweRescue

The concept of FloweRescue revolves around the philosophy of sustainability, community engagement, and the transformative power of flowers. Through this idea, the organization aims to address waste in the floral industry and stimulate dialogue about sustainability challenges while connecting people through the beauty and enjoyment of flowers.


 FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Creating new floral designs with rescued flowers.



“As with other perishable goods, waste is a huge challenge for the floral industry; by some estimates, 40% of the cut flowers produced will be thrown away before reaching the hands of consumers. Here, [in Helsinki] at flower shops and retailers, anywhere from 2-20% of flowers go to waste. We estimate that there are about half a million ‘rescuable’ flowers in the Helsinki area each year.”

Its work, therefore, encompasses various activities and initiatives that contribute to its mission. One of its flagship programs is the Kukkia Kaikille (Flowers for Everyone). This program focuses on enhancing the well-being of senior citizens in Helsinki by providing them with regular flower art activities. Through this program, elder care practitioners are trained to organize and lead flower workshops at care homes and community centers.


 FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Working with flowers comes with contentment and satisfaction.


The program works by training elder care specialists to organize and lead flower art workshops at care homes and community centers. These professionals, who are often staff members or volunteers at the facilities, receive the necessary training from FloweRescue to effectively facilitate the workshops.

The workshops themselves involve various activities centered around flowers, such as flower arranging, bouquet making, and floral crafts. Participants are encouraged to explore their creativity and engage with the natural beauty of flowers. They provide a space for seniors to express themselves artistically, connect with others, and experience a sense of accomplishment through their creations.

In that context, FloweRescue has established a network of volunteers known as Kukkakeijut, or Flower Fairies. These are teams of passionate individuals who adopt elder care homes or community partners and facilitate flower art workshops once a month. 


FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Making use of flowers that would otherwise be discarded.


The Kukkakeijut receive basic flower skills training from a professional designer and have the opportunity to continue their education, allowing them to further develop their skills and knowledge in the floral arts, as they work with the senior citizens’ care homes.

How the Kukkia Kaikille Program Offers Benefits to Senior Citizens

This program provides an array of benefits to the elderly members of society. For instance, it enables them to engage with flowers and participate in flower art activities that have a positive impact on their emotional well-being. Flowers are known to have a calming and uplifting effect, promoting positive emotions and reducing stress. The mere act of creating something beautiful with flowers, or just looking at them, has the potential to bring a sense of accomplishment to seniors, improving their overall mood and well-being.


FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
FloweRescue facilitates creative flower workshops with senior citizens.


The flower art workshops, additionally, stimulate cognitive function among seniors. The creative process of arranging flowers requires planning, decision-making, and problem-solving, which can help exercise cognitive abilities. These activities likewise encourage memory recall and concentration, contributing to the mental stimulation of participants.

In addition, the workshops facilitated by the Kukkia Kaikille program offer opportunities for social interaction and community engagement. Through them, the seniors can connect with their peers, share stories, and build relationships through their shared love for flowers. This social aspect of the program helps fight feelings of isolation and loneliness, nurturing a sense of belonging and, of course, connection.


FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Rescued flowers can be repurposed and used in new bouquets.


Participating in the Kukkia Kaikille program, similarly, gives seniors a sense of purpose and fulfillment. When they create floral arrangements and crafts, they contribute to something beautiful and meaningful. This sense of purpose can, definitely, have a significant impact on their self-esteem and overall contentment with life.

It is widely known that flowers and floral art activities have therapeutic qualities that can benefit anyone. The sensory experience of working with flowers, such as touching their petals and breathing in their fragrance, can create positive emotions and provide a calming effect. Engaging with nature in this way can also promote relaxation and mindfulness, offering these seniors a therapeutic outlet.


FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Working with flowers enhances positive feelings and induces a calming effect on people.


Floral Arts and Crafts Created in the Program

In the flower art workshops organized by FloweRescue's Kukkia Kaikille program, seniors have the opportunity to create various floral crafts. These crafts not only allow them to engage with flowers creatively but also provide a tangible result that they can take pride in. 

They, for example, learn how to create beautiful wreaths using fresh or dried flowers. They can choose from different designs, such as circular or heart-shaped, and explore various flower combinations to personalize their wreaths. The floral wreaths can be displayed on doors, and walls, or used as table centerpieces, where they add a touch of natural beauty.


FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Working with flowers can be a therapeutic experience.


Pressed flower art involves preserving flowers by flattening and drying them, and then creating artistic compositions using the pressed flowers. In the program, seniors can learn the techniques of flower pressing and creating stunning designs on cards, bookmarks, or framed artwork. This craft allows them to showcase the delicate beauty of flowers uniquely.

These seniors can, also, decorate plain flower pots with various materials like ribbons, beads, and paper flowers. They learn different techniques, such as decoupage or painting, to personalize their pots. Adding a touch of creativity to flower pots can change them into eye-catching pieces, perfect for displaying plants or as gifts for loved ones.


FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
A bouquet made using repurposed flowers is just as exquisite!


In addition, making flower crowns is a popular activity in flower art workshops. Seniors can learn how to select and arrange flowers to create their own personalized crowns. Flower crowns can be worn during special occasions, celebrations, or simply as a whimsical accessory. This craft allows them to discover and embrace their inner creativity and create a feeling of glee and playfulness.

What’s more, they also learn card-making techniques and incorporate dried or pressed flowers into their designs. They can, for instance, make unique and personalized greeting cards for different occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Handmade floral greeting cards carry a special personalized touch that satisfies both the creator and the recipient.

Further to these, the seniors can craft creative flower mobiles by attaching lightweight flowers to strings or ribbons and suspending them from a base. These mobiles can be hung near windows, in gardens, or even indoors as decorative pieces, where they bring a touch of charm and movement to the environment.


 FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
A beautiful handmade bouquet definitely brings a sense of cheer and contentment.


Moreover, they can learn how to make floral jewelry using small flowers, leaves, and other natural materials. They can make necklaces, bracelets, or earrings by carefully selecting and arranging the components. Such jewelry allows them to wear their love for flowers and adds a unique and natural aura to their personal lifestyles.

Flower shadow boxes are displays featuring pressed flowers arranged in a three-dimensional way, and the seniors involved in the program can design and assemble these as well. This is done by positioning pressed flowers, leaves, and other natural elements on a background within a shadow box frame to create exquisite botanical art pieces that capture the beauty of nature.


 FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Reusing discarded flowers helps in floral sustainability.


Likewise, in this program, senior individuals can learn how to make their own potpourri using dried flowers, herbs, and spices. From these flowers, they can select and mix aromatic elements to create unique scents and place the potpourri in decorative containers. Homemade flower potpourri not only adds a delightful floral fragrance to a room but is also a beautiful decorative element.

The Impact That FloweRescue Has Had Thus Far

This unique project has far-reaching impacts that span multiple levels. Firstly, it addresses the issue of waste in the floral industry. Rescuing flowers that would otherwise be discarded, guarantees that the organization significantly reduces the environmental footprint associated with flower production and disposal. This approach promotes sustainability by making the most of the value and lifespan of flowers.


FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
FloweRescue strives to always ensure no flowers go to waste.


Furthermore, FloweRescue's activities have a positive effect on the well-being of senior citizens. The flower art workshops organized by the Kukkakeijut provide opportunities for social interaction, creativity, and emotional engagement. It is common knowledge that the presence of flowers has numerous benefits, including improving mood, reducing stress, and enhancing cognitive function. And through its works, FloweRescue not only brings cheer and contentment to the lives of senior citizens but also promotes their overall well-being.

The initiative also continues to enhance community engagement and collaborations. These are the elements upon which FloweRescue's success is built. The organization actively seeks partnerships with local businesses, community centers, and elder care homes. And in working with them, it creates a network of support allowing the program to attain a wider reach and make a more significant impact.


 FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
Rescued flowers repurposed for extra use.


Noteworthy, addressing the issue of waste in the floral industry and connecting with senior citizens through flower art workshops are, without a doubt, impactful feats through which FloweRescue has made a significant mark on both environmental sustainability and the well-being of individuals.


"What if we can take some of the surplus and unnecessary waste of the floral industry and use it to facilitate human connection - to reach people who are experiencing loneliness, isolation or poor health and brighten their day with a smile and a bouquet?"


FloweRescue Saves and Repurposes Flowers for Floral Sustainability
FloweRescue's flower workshops boost mood and socialization and offer a unique and beautiful mode of self-expression.


So, if you share a passion for flowers, sustainability, and making a positive impact in the community, then FloweRescue is a cause you may consider supporting, to create a more sustainable and cheerful world. According to the program, flowers are one of the loveliest symbols of human connection; they express love, gratitude, condolence, friendship, and celebration.


All photos by @flower_rescue.


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