You know that green, squishy stuff at the bottom of most floral arrangements? That’s floral foam! Conventional florists like it because it’s convenient, supports complex floral designs, holds up to 50 times its weight in water, and is an inexpensive way to prolong the life of an arrangement. The structure of floral foam is similar to the cellular structure of a plant’s stem, so it acts as an extension thereof, enabling water to pass from foam to stem.
So, what’s the problem?
Phenolic resin floral foam is not biodegradable, meaning that these plastics will continue to break into smaller and smaller pieces until they can be classified as microplastics (5 mm in size or less).
As floral foam crumbles, these microplastics can spread throughout the environment where they can create issues. Toxic phenols can leach out of the foam and into the water. Being exposed to this water, or ingesting the foam, can cause blockages and irritation in organisms which then may carry chemicals to other sensitive organisms.
These microplastics can end up anywhere: in landfills, underground, in the ocean, etc. The limited information about the dangers of floral foam, with its widespread availability, has led to misuse and abuse of the product.
“The amount of foam being shared as a tool from florists who very clearly know the negative impacts of floral foam is staggering and needs to stop.” – TJ McGrath Design | Plainview, NJ
Yikes! So, what’s a flower lover to do?
Our eco-friendly floral design community on NEVER uses foam. You can start there for your next flower giving occasion. Some snaps below.
Small changes matter.
(Photos courtesy of The Flowry florists.)
“There are a number of ways we incorporate and pioneer “slow flowers” practices to reduce our impact: local flower sourcing, foam and synthetic chemical-free design, rented and locally-made vessels, using paraffin-free candles, partnering with Terracycle to up-cycle waste, and composting pre and post event.”
“Gorgeous and Green pledges to minimize these negative effects by amending our practices to become sustainable ones. This sustainability means using methods that we can afford to duplicate while reducing the negative effect on the environment and people around us. With a lot of creativity and research, we have been able to develop floral practices and offer gift products that allow us to do just that.”
“This commitment to ‘keeping it local’ means that your flowers get to you fresher & quicker, giving you longer naturally lasting blooms that have a smaller ecological footprint than those sourced out-of-state or internationally. We only use non-toxic materials. We never use floral foam, sprays, bleach or dye in our products.”
“Botanica Floristry has the environment and the Earth in mind at all times, so we use seasonal blooms grown by us and local Midwest farmers as well as farmers from around the United States. We never use floral foam because we are in the business of making the world better, not worse.”
“What does it mean to me to be a sustainable florist? It means that I have chosen cut flowers as my artistic medium and that I am ever mindful of my actions with them and the imprint/impact my art may have on the environment.”
“We strive for a “fresh take on flowers” by sourcing 100% locally grown blooms during the growing season and using eco-friendly wrapping materials. Bar Fiore strives to provide customers with a fresh, unique, high-quality selection of blooms.”