Whether you love or loathe it, it’s that time of year again. Personally I love it, because any day that gets people showing love and appreciation for each other can only be a good thing, and with the rise of Galentine’s Day there’s the opportunity to spread that love even further!
However, there is a part of this holiday that I do loathe; the enormous amount of waste it can create. Rest assured, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are a few ways we can all do our part to make sending flowers this Valentine’s Day (and every day) far more sustainable! Read more to find out my top 3 tips for making more sustainable choices when selecting your fresh blooms!
Tip 1. Skip the wrapping paper and excessive packaging – opt for a vase arrangement instead
When we first started Biophilia Blooms, we offered the option of wrapped bouquets. As more orders rolled in, we became increasingly conscious of the overwhelming amount of plastic, sticky tape and paper we were going through. We kept thinking, all this packaging requires so many natural resources and energy to produce and ultimately in a few hours it’ll be heading straight to landfill. At the end of the day, flowers need to be transferred into a vase regardless. So we asked ourselves “why are we adding this unnecessary and wasteful step in between?”
We decided to cut out all wrapping and only offer vase arrangements. It just made sense. We would no longer be contributing to single-use waste practices, the vase-life of the flowers would be maximized and recipients would receive the perfect vase that could be used for years to come.
“But it costs more!” I hear you say.
Chat with your florist and let them know your budget. They’ll be more than happy to incorporate the cost of a vase into your spend. Arranging in a vase often requires fewer flowers than a bouquet to create impact, so you won’t loose any wow-factor either!
Tip 2. Avoid arrangements that use Floral Foam – stay away from boxed, heart or letter shaped floral arrangements
Floral foam is one of the most damaging and toxic materials used in floristry and is often found in designs such as wreaths, floral letters, wedding arbours and boxed arrangements. It’s been around since the 1950’s and to this day has had no examination of its ecological impact or sound advice on how to correctly dispose of it. Being an open cell thermoset plastic means it is not biodegradable, but does disintegrate into millions of micro-plastics that end up in our oceans when the water the foam is soaked in goes down the drain. As a plastic, it is a product of the oil industry and manufactured using known carcinogens like formaldehyde and carbon black.
It’s definitely not something I’d be in a hurry to have contact with – or have sitting around my house. Remember that as a customer, your dollar has a lot of power. The more people refusing to purchase arrangements containing floral foam and sharing their concerns about it with family and friends, the less we’ll see it used.
Tip 3. Be aware of where your flowers come from – Ask your florist for locally grown
Eternally in season, imported roses are a popular choice for their large petal size, but there are a few things you might want to consider before buying them. In Australia, imported roses arrive from Kenya, Ethiopia, Ecuador and Colombia. From harvest to market floor, these roses are left without a water source for up to a week and endure massive temperature fluctuations, significantly reducing their quality and vase life. They’ve also accumulated thousands of travel miles and in an effort to protect our biosecurity are fumigated with methyl-bromide, a chemical known to be harmful to the ozone layer and our bodies.
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest and most important dates of the year for your local florist, but it’s also incredibly important for local flower farmers. Unfortunately in recent years, the attraction towards imports has seen many rose farmers having to pull out hundreds of crops, reduce the varieties they cultivate, and even switch to farming different flowers, as they simply can’t compete.
Ask your florist if they can source local roses for your arrangement. There is nothing like the scent of a fresh garden rose and the peace of mind knowing they aren’t saturated in harmful chemicals. It’s also great knowing your money has gone towards supporting hardworking local farmers and their families.
As sustainability has become more of a priority, change in the floral industry is brewing, particularly amongst wedding florists. But the pace of change is often set by what customers want and are willing to buy. With a quick Google search you’ll find florists near you who are proudly eco-friendly or sustainability focused. If you’ve already got a favourite local florist, reach out and ask them these few simple questions, it can make a world of difference to the impact you make when buying flowers.
May you be surrounded in blooming flowers soon x
About TDP’s Guest Contributor…
Josie Marc is a Sydney based floral designer specialising in sustainable wedding & event floristry practices and zero-waste floral gifting. Proudly 100% floral foam free, Josie is passionate about creating weddings with less waste and more meaning while educating people on the simple steps they can take to be more eco-friendly when purchasing flowers. Her business and passion for floristry is inspired by the concept of Biophilia – an innate affinity and love for nature that humans intrinsically possess. As life becomes increasingly urbanised, she aims to stir peoples intrinsic admiration for flowers and nature once more, to ensure we will always have the opportunity to stop and smell the roses. Josie’s work has been recognised and featured in Australian television shows like Channel 9’s Doctor Doctor, ABC series Rake, and soon to be hitting the big screen in I Am Women.