5 Things We Are Doing at Fig & Bloom to Improve Sustainability
While floristry is an incredibly beautiful industry to be involved in, there are some pressing environmental concerns we have been working on at Fig & Bloom. And we thought that by sharing what we’ve been working on, we could help contribute to the conversation about how to make our industry more sustainable.
Sustainability is one of the most crucial things that all businesses should be thinking about at the moment. With the state that the planet is in, every industry needs to face the common environmental issues that are going on around them. While we admit that here at Fig & Bloom, we’re not perfect in our practices and we definitely have a long way to go in becoming a sustainable florist, we are constantly trying to find ways to improve our processes, minimise waste and be more efficient in our usage of materials. We are always researching possible ways to become more environmentally friendly as well as innovating new ways to improve ourselves.
We believe our focus on our effect on the planet is one of the things that sets us apart in the floristry industry. We want to contribute positively to the florist industry, and we know that making changes where possible is the way to do this. Let’s take a look at some of the common environmental issues that this industry faces, and the measures that we put in place to contribute positively.
Common Environmental Issues Facing Floristry
One of the most common environmental issues in the industry is pesticides. It depends where you source your flowers from, but a lot of companies source them from overseas. It’s impossible to be 100% sure whether or not pesticides have been used on the flowers that you are sourcing for your clients. The issue is that if you are buying from a provider that uses these chemicals, you are indirectly contributing to the pollution of the Earth through chemical usage. The pesticides are used to keep pests from eating through the flowers, but there are natural ways that this can be done, rather than further polluting the already polluted air.
It’s important to understand that the use of pesticides is not healthy. As such, you should ensure that you complete research on where you are sourcing your flowers from, and how they have been grown
The amount of waste to come out of this industry would blow your mind. Using plastic for one-time wrapping, both to protect the flowers in transport, and to gift wrap them for a customer is one of the biggest waste contributors. When flowers are transported for long distances, there are multiple kinds of waste that occur. Pollution and CO2 from shipping, flying or driving flowers is a major factor. A lot of the flowers are imported from places like Africa and Columbia, meaning that they have to travel thousands of miles in refrigerated units on a plane and in trucks to get to their destination. This happens because different flowers are in season at different times of year in various parts of the world.
Another kind of waste that is a product of the transportation of flowers is the amount of flowers that can be damaged and hence become unusable due to not being packed properly or travelling extremely long distances.
A waste type that is perhaps easier albeit still complex to manage is the excess ordering of flowers. If a florist orders more flowers than they are able to sell, the rest gets thrown out. This is a huge contributing factor to waste.
As a florist, we constantly look at multiple factors to try and gauge what the right amount of flowers will be for our Studio – we look at previous sales trends, projected sales, the season, any major events or holidays occurring etc. Also tend to under order slightly to reduce waste, even if it means we have to go to the market very regularly!
As is the case with most agricultural industries, the usage of water and land in growing practices is an environmental factor to be aware of. The correct usage of the land and farming practices that ensures the land can be continued to be used and won’t erode or lose all its nutrients is incredibly important. Using hydraulic systems to ensure the most efficient use of water is also integral. Planting natives and rotating crops to give the land time to recover are just two of the ways practices can be made more sustainable. It’s very important to have a good relationship with your growers so you have an insight and understanding into how your flowers are grown and where you’re getting them from.
Steps Fig & Bloom are Taking to Become More Sustainable
Here at Fig & Bloom, we understand that these industry wide issues can’t be solved by one florist! However every small contribution and change adds up, and we are passionate about doing whatever we can to contribute as positively as possible to the environment. As such, we are currently taking measures to be more sustainable in our business, which we’ve outlined below.
1. Sourcing from Ethical Farmers
One of the things that we are proud to say we do is source ethical farmers. We want all of our flowers to come from farms that practice ethical farming, meaning that no pesticides or herbicides are used. We search for conventionally grown flowers that are 100% organic, so that we know we are not contributing in any way to an industry that sprays harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, damaging it further. We believe that this is a big step, and one that more companies should take in order to stamp out the practice of using these toxic chemicals altogether.
We aim for all of our flowers to be sustainable flowers, ensuring that our clients get the best bouquets possible, without the guilt.
2. Sorting Waste
We use different bins to sort and dispose of any waste from the business to ensure that everything is being recycled in the correct way. The different types of waste bins that we currently have are:
- Paper recycling – any cardboard boxes in which we receive flowers and other deliveries in are placed into this recycling bin. This stops it from getting mixed up with the other waste that cannot be recycled into something else.
- Soft plastics bin – delivering from the farm to the studio can sometimes put the flowers in danger. The last thing that you want is to receive damaged flowers, so a lot of the farmers put soft plastic coats on the flowers to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Putting them in a soft plastics bin on their own means that they can be processed and disposed of properly, without getting mixed up with anything else.
- Organic and flower waste bin – if there are any leaves that have needed to be trimmed off, or there are any flowers that are below the quality that we sell, they will go in the organic waste bin.
Ensuring that all of our waste goes to the correct place is a big step in the right direction. A lot of companies still mix up all of their waste, meaning that it is generally not separated and will end up in landfill.
3. Reuse All Elastic Bands To Bind Bouquets
When the flowers get to us, they are often bound by an elastic band. We always keep these bands and reuse them when binding a bouquet for one of our lovely customers. This is a far better option than some of the other choices out there. It also means that less ribbon can be used as its purpose is not to support and hold the flowers together, but merely for aesthetic purposes.
4. Rotating Designs Depending On Flower Availability (Season)
We always aim to rotate our designs depending on which flowers are in-season, helping to avoid importing them from other countries. From this we can help reduce the emissions contributed from transport, while also supporting our local farmers. A point we always come back to is whether our growers are practicing ethical farming? There’s times when it’s not always possible to source local flowers, for example if there’s a drastic change in weather conditions, such as a drought or heavy wet season – so this needs to be carefully considered. We rotate the flowers in our designs based on seasonal availability where possible, but when this isn’t possible, we do our best to source them from ethical farmers.
5. Educating Clients & Shaping Expectations
As a florist, we know which flowers are in season at any given time, when they are at their peak and other flower related information that our clients might like. We are always happy to take the extra step and walk you through the details of what is in season and can be sourced locally if you’re interested! We’re very passionate about this kind of knowledge and are always happy to share.
We hope that you have found this information enlightening, and now have a better idea as to some of the issues we face in floristry and the steps we are taking to combat them. At F&B, we believe that every change counts, no matter how small it may seem – it really does add up! We’re always open to new ways we can improve, so if you have any ideas or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our lovely Customer Service team. In the meantime – getting out into nature when we can always helps us feel connected and appreciative of its incredible beauty and power 🌸