It seems to be a common belief that Floristry is not harmful to the environment because they're just flowers, right? Grown in gardens, picked and arranged, it's all very lovely and seems quite harmless.
Commercial cut flowers are grown in enormous quantities on farms which require a lot of water and electricity and, depending on where and how they're grown perhaps chemical fertilisers and pesticides. After harvest they are mostly wrapped in plastic for transport which often involves being flown around the globe or driven around the country, leaving a substantial carbon footprint.
This is absolutely not a criticism of our hardworking farmers and distributors, simply an observation of the process. And to be honest, not factors that we as florists have the option to control.
What is within our control however, are the choices we make as flower handlers - here are just 3 things we can change in order to reduce the impact of our industry on the environment:
This is a big one. Floral foam is not biodegradable. Basically that means it never breaks down, becoming a microplastic which ends up in our waterways, consequentially in our food and our bodies. The use of floral foam worldwide is unfathomably enormous with it often being used in large amounts to dress events for just a few short hours before being unceremoniously dumped into landfill. Not very cool at all and absolutely not necessary. There are alternatives aplenty.
There is a seemingly never ending and exciting array of floral gift wrapping available to us. We can choose to buy natural paper rather than polypropylene and other plastic-based wraps. Just imagine the reduction in plastic if every bunch of flowers were wrapped in paper. What an exciting possibility!
It's easy and disposable to have flowers contained in a plastic bowl or plastic-coated colourful cardboard box (which needs lining with extra plastic to hold water/floral foam) but what is wrong with using a vase or recycled food jar I ask you? Absolutely nothing and it gives the giftee something to keep which is extra lovely.
So there we have it folks, just 3 things that are not too difficult to change but will make a significant reduction in the amount of plastic waste produced by the floral industry.
Loving flowers means caring for the earth, it's time we take responsibility to be conscious about minimising our environmental impact.
So, what can you do as a lover and buyer of flowers? Ask your florist for paper wrapping, request no floral foam or plastics. If you as a customer ask nicely for plastic reduction, your florist will likely comply because they generally want to keep you as a customer. Don't be shy. When it comes to environmental care every action, no matter how small, counts.