Can Rose Parade floats be green amongst the roses?

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Rose Parade float 

Image by Elika & Shannon

When you think of Rose Parade floats, you probably think of all the tens of thousands of roses and other flowers that go into decorating the floats.  That’s pretty green, right?  But what makes up a Rose Parade float and is it as green as you might think?

First of all, as you probably guessed, Rose Parade floats don’t start with decorations.  There is a lot of hard work that goes into building a Rose Parade float before you even get to the decoration stage.  Many floats start working on their designs no later than January and construction goes throughout the year.  Hundreds of hours of work, and in the case of self-built floats, it’s all volunteer work that goes into bringing into existence the amazing floats you see in the parade each year.  It takes a lot of steel, welding and foam, along with some blood, sweat and tears to put together a Rose Parade float.  Admittedly, the construction side of things isn’t the greenest aspect of a float.

Then how are the floats powered?  Well, just like most vehicles on the road, they require engines to power them.  Many also have an additional engine which is used to run their animation.  Some floats use gasoline engines, others use propane or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and some are even a little more environmentally friendly and use CNG – Compressed Natural Gas.  (CNG is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline, diesel or propane and while it does produce greenhouse gases, it is generally a cleaner alternative to the other fuels.)

Now while not all floats are able to use CNG, per this article from fueleconomy.gov, LPG does produce fewer toxic and smog-forming air pollutants than regular gasoline or diesel.  And hopefully those floats who haven’t yet switched to a cleaner burning fuel, consider using a proven liquid combustion catalyst to help lower their harmful emissions and take the next step toward becoming greener floats.

But let’s face it, at the end of the day (or beginning of the year I should say), the floats all come together with their roses, carnations, cranberry seeds, onion seeds, seaweed, palm bark, fruits and other all-natural materials which are used to decorate them.  Green?…maybe not as much as they could be, but definitely full of roses, wonderful to see and a beautiful start to the New Year!

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