When we consider the volume of flowers used in some events, it is easy to see how a few small decisions at the outset can make a big difference to an event’s overall environmental footprint.
The choice of flowers and vessels can make significant impacts on carbon and chemical outputs, as well as waste. To keep your event as sustainable as possible, keep the following ideas in mind.
Insist that your arrangements do not use plastic floral foam.
Work with your florist on designs that don’t need foam – a good florist can create impressive displays without it.
Buy local and in-season flowers wherever possible. When you opt for locally-grown flowers that are naturally in season in your part of the world, you are:
How do you know what flowers are in season locally? Ask your florist! A good florist should have a range of different seasonal varieties you can select from. Flower varieties change from week to week, just like fruit and vegetables, so what’s available one week isn’t necessarily there the next.
If there are no locally-grown flowers where you are and your florist only has imported varieties, ask your florist for flowers with a level of certification.
If you love flowers, plan your event around peak flower availability in spring and summer. If you are particularly wild about a particular variety or colour palette, work with the seasons to ensure the flowers you want will be in local supply. This might mean considering planning your event around your flowers!
It is tempting to work your event around a specific colour palette. However, certain colours and palettes aren’t available all year round. If you are fixed on a colour palette, find out what local flowers will be in season on your wedding date that match your colour scheme. The more flexible you are, the greater the variety of blooms your florist will have to choose from to fulfil your order.
Avoid artificially manipulated blooms. Many flowers are artificially dyed or chemically preserved. Some of these processes turn natural, compostable materials into products that must be sent to landfill.
The problem is florists don’t necessarily know the treatment processes behind these blooms.
To reduce the chemical footprint of your flowers and avoid adding to landfill, stay away from chemically preserved/painted/glitter-covered flowers, especially if the flowers are only for one event.
Preserved flowers are not the same as naturally dried flowers.
Consider your vessels. Think about reusing vessels or hiring for the day. Small jars and tin cans serve well as small vases and named with an attractive label, can serve as bonbonniere for your guests. Collect second-hand vessels for your florist to fill.
Support local farmers working to improve their farming practices.
A Slow Flowers movement exists in the world of floristry, just as it does in food. This movement supports smaller scale farms, minimal chemical intervention, seasonal growing and bee-friendly crops. Tell your florist you want to source from local farmers supporting sustainably-grown wherever possible.
Consider growing your own flowers. Put some seeds or bulbs in the ground to bloom in time for your event. Small pot plants such as succulents or colorful annuals can sit on the table and and again double as bonbonniere.
Many florists offer a gift-wrapping service after the event. If the flowers aren’t being taken home by family or guests, consider donating them to your local nursing home, charity or hospital.