Why don’t I use floral foam?
Well, the answer to that question is because it is damaging to our environment.
Floral foam is that green sponge brick that you may have found in the bottom of a box of flowers you may have received. It has been around since the mid 1950s. It’s a great product given it not only provides a water source once soaked in water but also provides a stable base for stems to be inserted into. It is used all over the world by florists who may undertake work where a water vase is just not practical to use such as wedding arbours, ceiling installations, and funeral casket flowers to name a few. Most gift flowers that come in a box are arranged in floral foam.
But for all its good features floral foam comes with one very big drawback. Floral foam is made from micro plastic. The dry nature of the foam before it is soaked in water is considered carcinogenic and florists who come into repeated contact with it may be exposed.
The jury is out as to the realistic biodegradability of floral foam. Some manufacturers claim that the latest product has shown to be biodegradable assuming it is dumped into biologically active landfill. However, this does not take into account the micro plastics that end up down the drain pipe at the florist and eventually into our waterways. And it doesn’t help that this product is for one time use only. It cannot be recycled.
There are no published figures on how much florist foam is dumped by recipients of flowers that have been arranged in foam but if you assume that every florist around the world uses at least three blocks of foam on an average day, the amount used globally is significant.
In more recent times, there has become a movement among florists across the world to use more environmentally friendly ways to display flowers without using floral foam. Given that most florists have been trained in the use of floral foam as a key tool in their profession, and still are, it certainly provides a challenge to think outside the square.
I am grateful to The Sustainable Floristry Network (@sustainablefloristry, @nofloralfoam) and its advocates for providing me a channel to consider other environmentally friendly alternatives to floral foam.
So please, the next time you order flowers consider the environment and say “no” to floral foam.