In the United States alone, approximately 2.25 million weddings are thrown each and every year. It may startle you to learn that, on average, every one of those weddings creates somewhere between 400 and 600 pounds of trash.

While a lot of that is food, paper and plastic, a nice chunk of that waste consists of flowers. Floral arrangements are a big business and a focal point at most weddings. But what happens to them after everyone heads home for the night? Sadly, they typically head for the garbage.

And consider the number of floral arrangements at other gatherings that meet similar fates. Conferences, baptisms, funerals and other special events often have an abundance of flowers that, while beautiful at the event, wind up as tomorrow’s trash.

Donate your flowers and spread the love

Today, there are plenty of ways to reuse flower arrangements. Nursing homes, hospice care centers, hospitals and women’s shelters are full of people who could use a little light in their day. Flowers are known to cheer up a room in an instant.

In fact, a research study conducted at Rutgers University showed that every single person who received flowers during an experiment had a positive response. Each and every person. So why not donate your leftover floral arrangements to someone who can use the extra cheer?

If you’re planning a wedding or other large event, you may be thinking you already have enough on your plate. Researching where to donate your flowers after your wedding and coordinating the details may seem like yet another overwhelming detail you don’t want to add to your already bursting list.

Lucky for you, there are organizations that have been created solely to reuse flower arrangements from large events.

Full Bloom

Based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Full Bloom is a nonprofit organization with a passion for flowers, people and their emotional wellness. Their mission is to improve the mental and emotional health of people dealing with death, terminal illness and other life-changing illnesses and conditions.

Full Bloom recuts, repurposes and recycles gently used flowers that are made into pretty bouquets for patients in area hospitals, hospice care, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Volunteers deliver this recycled love to patients’ bedsides to brighten their day.

Unlike many similar organizations, Full Bloom operates on the generosity of donations and volunteers.

Repeat Roses

After your event is over, Repeat Roses in New York will pick up your flower arrangements. Any pieces that can’t be repurposed will be composted or recycled. Then, the remaining usable flowers will be delivered to a nonprofit organization like a nursing home, hospice care center, hospital or women’s shelter.

Once the recipients are done enjoying the flowers, Repeat Roses will do its best to reclaim the expired flowers. That way, they can be composted and used to aid in growing new plants.

Repeat Roses works with clients nationwide. Because Repeat Roses is a for-profit business, you’ll be charged for their services. However, since your flowers will be donated to a nonprofit organization, you will be provided with a receipt for tax purposes.

Are you more of a crafty or DIY person?

If you like to do things yourself and want ideas on what to do with your leftover wedding or event flowers, there are plenty of ways you can reuse them.

Dry your flowers

Preserve some of your flowers for your memory box by drying them out. This is absolutely something you can do yourself. Just hop on Pinterest and you can find lots of ways to display dried flowers. However, if you want it done just right, search for a flower preservation specialist in your area to help you out.

Make a candle

You can preserve some of the petals in a beautiful candle. If you’re an experienced candle maker, you can definitely do it yourself. If you want to hand the task off to someone else, there are companies that can help you.

The Isle of Co. can turn your wedding flowers into a Memory Candle. The amazing thing about these candles is that they are designed to burn but will never melt away, so you can look at the candle and remember your special day for many years to come.

Turn your flowers into jewelry

Take your wedding flowers from decorative to wearable with Blossoms Into Beads. When your wedding is over, you send them your flowers. They use the flowers to craft handmade beads that go into custom-designed jewelry. Create special pieces for yourself or for a loved one.

Craft flower petal soaps

Homemade soaps cast with flower petals inside make lovely decorations and gifts. You can turn some of the flower petals from your big day into a gorgeous soap bar. This tutorial will show you step by step how to make your own floral melt-and-pour soaps.

Make homemade paper with flower petals

Want a unique paper to write your thank-you notes on? Try your hand at homemade paper. You can work flower petals from your wedding into the paper, giving it an extra-special touch. You can even use the leftover wrapping paper from your gifts to make the homemade paper.

Next time you have a big event with lots of flowers, try using at least one of these methods to repurpose those flowers.

What other ways have you found to reuse flower arrangements?

By Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.