We all know that pollution, waste disposal and the burning of fossil fuels are just a few factors that contribute to global warming. But there’s one tiny element that also makes an impact: noncompostable floral event décor.
That’s right. Although flowers are mostly compostable, when used as décor they wind up in the trash, headed off to landfills once the lights turn on and event clean-up begins.
That didn’t sit well with Jennifer Grove, the founder and CEO of Repeat Roses. Formerly the owner of an East Coast boutique event planning company, Grove saw a huge problem with throwing away gorgeous arrangements that were used for only a few hours.
As she puts it, you wouldn’t spend $90,000 on a car and throw it away the next day. “It was heartbreaking week after week to see it,” she says. “I thought there had to be something I could do with these beautiful flowers.”
Things finally came to a head when she was pushing one cart of flowers to a loading dock with seven equally full carts behind her. As she walked, she thought about how she was just one event, in one ballroom, in one hotel with hotels across the street and museums around the corner on just one block in Maryland. Thinking of it that way, the problem seemed overwhelming.
That breakthrough created what is now known as Repeat Roses—a company that takes floral arrangements and puts them to good use.
Instead of throwing the flowers into a plastic bag and dumping them in a landfill where they will sit for the unforeseeable future, Grove’s team collects flowers from an event (sometimes as late as 3 a.m.), breaks them down into smaller arrangements and delivers them to nonprofit organizations like hospitals or domestic abuse centers. A week or so later, they return to the organization, pick up the flowers and the vases, recycle the vases into their inventory and compost the flowers. There is absolutely no waste.
“When you look at it in scale, it’s a very large problem,” she says. “I set off with a mission to solve the problem and launched Repeat Roses as a unique service and a way to give back to people and the planet.”
Grove opened the business in 2014, but things really took off in 2015. That was the year she forged her first strong relationships—those beginning clients are still with her today. While headquartered in New York, the team currently provides the service nationwide, with New York, Los Angeles and Miami as their largest markets.
For Grove, the most important part of this is her 13-year-old daughter. Grove wants to inspire her to think about her level of consumption and how that affects the world. Understanding that is one small step in preventing climate change.
“I’d like for there to be a planet for her to live on,” she says. “I’m on a mission to build a legacy for her. I want her to see you can do well in business by doing good in the world.”