Going Green – Part One

Exploring greener ways of working in floristry

I’ve been a florist for a long time, and really it has only recently entered my awareness just how much of a footprint our industry makes. I’ve long been pretty upset about the amount of plastic and cellophane used in the floral industry, flowers get delivered to shops this way and we remove the plastic to condition the flowers only to gift wrap them up in more plastic wrap before they go out the door to you!

I originally started to research floral foam out of curiosity, I wanted to know how biodegradable it was. Unfortunately it turns out to be not at all biodegradable, we’re looking at around 100 years (or possibly not at all) to break down in a landfill. This makes me sad.

Floral foam is a BIG problem in the industry, when we are trained as florists we are given this ‘wonderful’ foam which is easy to design in, holds your flowers and also hydrates them keeping them happy for days on end. What’s not to like? Well, disappointingly we aren’t told about how horrible the stuff is! It is made from nasty chemicals such as carbon black, formaldehyde and barium sulphates. This can cause skin irritations, I suffer from dermatitis on my hands when I use foam. Also these chemicals are known carcinogens. Nice. Why would we put our lovingly grown beautiful blooms into a harmful chemical based substance? Because the industry is very quiet on this subject a lot of us don’t know too much about this and sadly there aren’t currently any alternatives which are as convenient and easy to use.

foam free floristry

Floral foam alternatives

A replacement for foam which has the same ease of use hasn’t quite been invented yet, I’ve got my fingers crossed though! Currently I’ve been using moss and chicken wire which is what was used back in the day before this modern foam was created. Below is how I made the structure to attach to some candelabra for a recent wedding. A moss shaped sausage wrapped in chicken wire and then cable tied around the candelabra. I know cable ties are plastic so this is not a perfect solution but a good start. Since making these I have discovered biodegradable cable ties exist so I need to hunt them down! 

Picture above is a traditional ‘long and low’ style arrangement but rather than using floral foam I’ve again used moss and chicken wire.

Thank you for reading my ramblings, I will keep you updated with further findings on how to work foam free. It is a journey which many florists are embarking on now and we are all learning from each other with our different techniques.

Below are some more pictures from the above wedding, a treat for your eyes to reward you for reading a very wordy blog post!