Here at Oh Flora we’re mindful about our role in lessening our impact on our beautiful planet. We certainly aren’t perfect in our environmental practices, however, we believe every little choice counts.
It’s not about perfection, it’s about each of us contributing.
Sometimes it’s all too convenient to let wasteful day to day behaviour slide and so here are some ideas to encourage you to make small choices for the better whenever possible.
1. Opt for local over imported flowers where possible.
Again, this isn’t about being perfect, rather it’s about being mindful of your purchases. You’ve likely heard of “food miles”, well this is being aware of the same concept but with flowers - the distance traveled for those flowers to get to you from international locations adds to your business’ impact on the earth, or your impact as a customer.
Another thing to consider is generally imported flowers need to be sprayed with extremely toxic chemicals to be allowed into Australia (and many other countries with strict biosecurity). Not only is this another step that’s not great for the planet, it’s pretty poor for your health too!
If you’re a florist, consider setting yourself a ratio goal of Australia:International to stick by when ordering and purchasing wholesale. And if you’re a consumer, ask your florist where their flowers are grown.
Regardless of location, always remember to wash your hands well after handling flowers grown with chemicals.
2. Choose paper, newspaper or unwrapped flowers when purchasing your blooms.
Support your growers, suppliers and florists that wrap their blooms in recycled or standard paper or unwrapped rather than in single use plastic sleeves. When making your order with suppliers, request if possible, for no or minimal plastic wrapping.
If you’re a floral customer, ask your florist for paper wrapping and request that no floral foam is used for wet packing.
3. Recycle soft plastics.
This is a controversial one. We understand and I also question myself what actually happens to the soft plastics we recycle? However, I still feel even if it’s just a little bit that ends up being reused it’s far better than none! I take my plastics to Coles or Woolworths supermarkets. To find your local soft plastics recycling station, simply Google in your area.
4. Invest in products and education to reduce or eliminate the use of floral foam.
Floristry and elaborate fresh floral designs existed prior to harmful, chemical infused floral foam. We understand that many of the expectations of wedding and event clients make us as florists sometimes feel like using foam is the only way, but have you actually considered your clients may have no idea the impacts of their wishes on the planet?
Learning and investing in ways to offer similar designs using reusable or compostable materials and methods not only helps you contribute back to the environment in small ways but also gives your clients a choice to be more sustainable.
Many brides, grooms and party hosts want to make better choices, and you can help them do just that by educating them on what floral foam is and what the alternatives are.
A simple google or pinterest search will reveal tonnes of ideas of how to go foam-free. Our favourite go-tos are using chicken wire, moss and reusable water vials. These methods are also so much more cost effective in the long run.
If you’re hosting a party or getting married, ask your florist about alternatives to floral foam. We promise with the right product, preparation of flowers, planning and enough time for your florist on site, almost any design can be achieved without floral foam - take a look at our event website and instagram filled with floral foam-free designs.
5. Make use of your green bin for flower and foliage cuttings and old flowers.
In many areas of the world, green waste is collected and turned into mulch and compost.
Be sure to take out any plastic scraps, tape or rubber bands. It’s a small change you can make for bigger long term impacts.
6. Reduce chemical use by using plant based and traditional cleaning products rather than bleach and heavy chemicals.
When cleaning your vases or design space, “old school methods” are best yet again! Vinegar and baking soda and plant based dish liquids or sprays are our go to when cleaning our vessels, vases and design space. One of our favourite brands is: ecostore.com/au/.
Yes, in some cases cleaning with these products instead of harsh chemicals may require a little more elbow grease, but in our opinion it’s worth it and generally much cheaper in the long run… not to mention, much better for your health.
7. Think about your ribbon choices.
As a florist consider using jute, silk and natural material ribbons over synthetics and plastics when wrapping bouquets or packaging your bridal party flowers.
If you’re ordering a bouquet of flowers, ask for natural fibres where possible rather than synthetic and plastic ribbons.
8. Reuse water vials and rubber bands.
At Oh Flora, we only occasionally purchase water vials and never purchase new rubber bands. Saving even some of these that come bundling your wholesale flowers is not only consuming less as a business, but almost more cost effective for you.
9. Favour plastic free packaging and shipping.
When purchasing anything online, support businesses that offer plastic free, minimal or single-use plastic free shipping. If you’re not sure if the store you're purchasing from offers this service, you can make a note at check out to let the store know your preference. Making this note also helps to let the store know their customers are wanting less wastage and helps them make changes for the better. Did you know that the Oh Flora Store ships 100% plastic free?
Again, this is all about baby steps! If you can or are already implementing all the above in your work routines, then amazing! If not, think about taking just a few of the above suggestions to make your own positive impact. Then maybe add another… and another?
Do you have any other environmentally friendly ideas to share below in the comments?