I have written blog articles in the past about floral foam, sustainability and so much more, but until now I haven’t offered up an explanation as to why. Why I have chosen to follow a greener path. Why is it so important to me and why the business is slowly changing.
Where it all began – My why
You may or may not know that I have a background in Meteorology and have worked for the Met Office, ITV and Sky News forecasting the weather. Before this, I studied at the University of Birmingham and gained an MSc in Applied Meteorology and Climatology. I hope you can see that weather and climate is in my blood, and that it came long before flowers. Going forward, I want to use my knowledge, read and question everything, to ensure I create a business I can be proud of, that is working hard to step in the right direction and that most importantly is trying to give my Daughter a better world to grow up in. Have I made mistakes? Absolutely! Do I always get it right? No! Have I used floral foam? Yes! But, I am learning and growing, listening and educating myself to move one step at a time in the direction of a greener, more sustainable future.
What I am doing
I am currently working with the Sustainable Wedding Alliance on an accreditation to ensure sustainability is at the heart of everything I do at LLFD. It is a long process, with lots of documentation and planning, but the long term aim is to gain the accreditation and bring the business where I would like it be. Sustainability is a word that I often struggle with. Can a florist be sustainable if they only work during the months you can buy British flowers? Can a florist be sustainable if they import flowers from all over the world? These are questions I am currently asking myself. I am trying to align the business to have a greener focus, but without jeopardising the long-term financial sustainability or the growers in Kenya, Ecuador and other parts of the world who rely on my custom. It is a tricky balance, and the questions and answers run far deeper than not using floral foam or only buying British. There are so many florists and growers who put it so much more eloquently than me, and if you would like to know more, the likes of Cel at Forever Green Flower Company or Becky at Prairie Girl Flowers are definitely the place to start.
On my Going Green page you will see that I have made a number of promises to you. I want you to hold me accountable and question anything you don’t think is right. I feel it is important to explain my promises and the ideas behind them, so they do not seem empty or unfounded. This will continually be updated as I learn more and I will try my best to evidence my reasoning.
My promises to you
- I will not use floral foam – I have written a number of blog posts on this subject and you can refer back to them here. In short, floral foam is a micro-plastic that doesn’t biodegrade, instead it breaks down into small particles that leach into water ecosystems and damage them beyond repair.
- I will continue to work on reducing, reusing and recycling – We are all trying to do our bit with this aren’t we? We all recycle our cardboard and plastics at the kerb side, and if we are really lucky, our food waste too. What does this mean for LLFD? I am reducing my green waste by using a hot bin composter, so that it is broken down and reused in the form of compost that helps me grow some of the flowers I use. I also hire out all of my sundries to my couples, including vases, stands, candles and glassware, to prevent more being purchased. They are reused over and over again. When things come to the end of their life, I then try my best to recycle them. For example, I get through a surprising amount of candle wax and have taken to storing it all in the aim of sending it to a company in Devon who makes candles from leftovers.
- I will no longer use any dyed, bleached or painted materials – Simply, and first and foremost because they cannot by composted. Prairie Girl Flowers explains it all, but in short, the dyes breakdown into compounds that are considered toxic contaminants of the soil and water. The use of these dyes goes unchecked and unregulated in the floral industry, and unless florists like me stop using them, then nothing will change.
- I will work hard on reducing my use of single-use plastics – I try my best to reuse, reuse, reuse as much as possible and prevent single use plastics going to landfill. But, it is incredible difficult as many of my flowers arrive in plastic wrapping with an elastic band tied round them. There is a slow movement to change to recyclable wrapping, and this is where I need to look back up my supply chain and ask the right questions. In my day to day work, I have implemented as many schemes as possible to ensure waste is limited. For example, in Christmas 2021 I ran a wreath recycling scheme to ensure the wreaths made at LLFD didn’t just end up in landfill. They were all taken apart, decorations and rings stored to be reused, and natural material composted. My customers got a discount of off their next wreath for taking part in the scheme.
- I will source and use plastic free packaging and labelling – All of my packaging is created from the boxes the flowers arrive in. I used recyclable brown paper and recyclable tape, so that the packaging can simply be popped in my clients kerbside recycling. It is marked to tell them so.
- I will use local grown or British grown flowers as much as possible – This is something I am working really hard on in 2022. I have a wonderful local network of growers, but as you probably know, their flowers are only available from say March to October. So what do I do in the other months? I import. I often have to import for larger weddings too, as the quantity isn’t always available locally. This is honestly a whole other blog post and I will write it once I have collected all the data, as I think some of the facts will surprise you. In the meantime, I will continue to support my global network of growers, only using those who act sustainably, and by that I mean they care for their staff, they do not use pesticides, and they are considerate of their own footprint. We do have a coding system that allows me to see which growers have this accreditation and I will use those when it is not possible to source things locally.
- I will work with Ecologi to restore wildlife habitats around the world by planting trees – You can read all about Ecologi and their work by following the link. I have been very lucky to have visited some extraordinary places in my life and seen firsthand the evidence of climate change on communities. Working with Ecologi funds amazing projects all over the world and tries to rewild the area most damaged by us.
Thank you so very much for reading this. I am honestly so so grateful and I hope you have gained a better understanding of me, my business and why I am working hard behind the scenes. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.