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XOX Floral Taupo Flowers workshops

Why sustainable floristry is so important

We promote sustainable floristry and do not use floral foam or plastic in any of our creations.

The inadvertant rubbish created by floral tributes.

Like everyone else we too were saddened to hear of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, and while we were heartened that so many people chose to show their love and grief through flowers it was a sad sight to see the amount of waste, plastic and otherwise, created for flowers that no one will get to enjoy.  Time and again we’ve seen memorials where the flowers left have become a problem that no one wants to own because no one wants to take responsibility for their disposal.

Fortunately there were plenty of people willing to step in and help at the gates of Buckingham Palace, to sort through the waste and separate the compostables from the plastics.  But all it takes is a little forethought on either the part of the florist or the buyer to either leave off the wrapping or remove it.  It’s something we see often with memorials whether it’s flowers left on a grave, the beach, roadside or ANZAC memorial, the wrapping is simply unnecessary and if left on can blow around ending up as plastic rubbish.  If you’re buying flowers for a memorial, we also suggest asking the florist to tie the bouquet with twine, otherwise it’s likely they’ll use a plastic tie.

As a sustainable business our approach is always to try and think past the initial sale, through to the journey’s end – so how will this be disposed of?

We think this Instagram post by Prairie Girl Flowers says it all.

The Sustainable Floristry Network is a great place to start for help and advice for eco friendly and foam free floral arranging techniques.

Ideas for eco friendly funeral flowers.

Hopefully the funeral wreath on top of the Queen’s casket will start a conversation about eco friendly funeral flowers.  Firstly the wreath was made without floral foam and secondly it used only British grown flowers.  This post by Field House Flowers sums it up.

Floral foam is a petrolium product that doesn’t break down in the environment yet it is widely used in funeral and church flowers along with the accompanying cheap plastic containers. So what are the alternatives…

  • Some use a shallow trough with chicken wire or twigs secured with tape as support for the flowers with water in the bottom to keep the flowers hydrated.
  • Others use damp moss secured to a branch wreath base.  There is a fantastic guide to making a compostable wreath on The Sustainable Floristry Network’s blog here
  • We prefer a sheath type bouquet that can be laid on top of the casket made of long lasting flowers, tied with twine.  While it won’t last as long as something poked into oasis, at least you don’t have to worry about water spilling and it can be cremated.

Some things to consider when leaving flowers at a cemetary or memorial…

  • Why not remove the plastic wrapping so it doesn’t blow away and become rubbish.
  • Instead of plastic flowers that will fade how about considering that fresh flowers simply aren’t meant to last forever and they will break down and return to the earth, but that is part of the joy. Or choose a protea, or banksia, something hardy that will also dry.  Perhaps even a potted plant that can be replaced.
  • Consider leaving home grown flowers that were special to the deceased, instead of buying imported roses.

Sending bereavement flowers

Here dried flowers are a good option because it’s likely the bereaved will be receiving lots of fresh flowers and it’ll give them something to enjoy long after the fresh flowers have been tossed away.
Some things to consider:

  • A dried bouquet doesn’t have to go into water straight away
  • A vase arrangement solves the problem of needing a vessel
  • A wreath or wall hanging won’t take up space on a table crowded with other bouquets.

If you do want to buy fresh flowers however we’d suggest ordering a jar/ vase/ vox box etc with the bouquet so that the recipient doesn’t have to suddenly run out and buy more vases (we don’t advocate arrangements in floral foam because of their harmful environmental footprint).  It’s worth also checking if the recipient will be home or if they’ll be going out of town for the funeral.  And while it’s nice to send your condolences immediately, perhaps it could be a good idea to leave it a week or two before sending flowers in case the recipient is initially overwhelmed with flower deliveries.

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