Sustainability has always been a priority at WDWF....

Jessie Copper :: Tuesday 20th February 2024 :: Latest Blog Posts

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Image by Jade Greenbrooke 

... but this past year we have made huge leaps and bounds.

Some people from outside the sector might be surprised to know that the floristry industry - an industry that works primarily with raw materials - has  long been scrutinised and criticised for it's impact on the planet. The issues are no different from those surrounding imported fruit and veg really. Flown in from abroad, toxic chemicals in pesticides and feed, and plastic cellophane round every item. These have done us no favours over the years. 

But the biggest sin of all has been flower foam, the green stuff that you've probably spotted inside basket arrangements and church designs. It is toxic to those using it (oh, how the dust scratches when it gets in your eyes and nose!) and also to our rivers and seas, being full of microplastics that do not disappear quickly but instead take a long time to degrade. It was invented in the 60's I believe, and was a game changer for florists who had previously created time-consuming moss-frames in which to arrange their flowers. It hydrated well, it help up well under pressure and it was- at that time, and for a good 4 or 5 decades after that - the best thing since sliced bread. 

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Image by Azura Gold 

Of course now we know more. We know that it sits in landfill and pollutes our earth. We know that it is just single-use plastic in the worst form. And we know that it isn't particularly good for our lungs either.

So over the past few years, a select group of forward-thinking planet-loving floral pioneers have started to step out of their comfort-zone and make changes. And change isn't always a quick process when you've got to re-learn how you've always done something (a method that you rely upon to be great under pressure in important situations like weddings) and also when the new methods you're replacing it with haven't been invented yet - yes, moss is still there, but the demands of the industry are more now than they used to be, so florists have been inventing, trialling, and developing new methods and new products. Big players within the industry have also now begun to do so too. 

The upshot of all of this has been the rise of the 'foam-free florist'. We can in no way profess to be leaders in this, but we have finally taken the leap, and since the beginning of 2023 we are proud to say that we are part of that illustrious set. Using alternatives such as basalt-blocks, chicken wire, compostable bags and just simple water, we have done it. Last year was our first fully foam-free year. Hurrah! The designs you see in the photos on this page are just a selection from this past season and were all made without the use of floral foam. By training myself and my team to work in different ways we have successfully created designs that are as stunning as ever without the need for single-use plastic foam. It's a case of providing the same great service but with a cleaner, greener attitude.

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Image by Jade Greenbrooke 

We've also cut out other single-use plastics from our work. Those plastics that we do use are reusable, and boy - do they get reused! Reusable cable ties are our favourite. Google them. If you have single-use cable ties at home that you just cut off and throw away, you need to replace them with reusable ones next time. Ours get used over and over and over again! 

Plastic trays are used by every florists everywhere, mainly for funeral work as they are sturdy, offering stability and support for weightier designs. However, they are so often discarded after single-use when they could be reused. With this in mind, we have struck a deal with our local hospice which receives cupboard-loads of plastics through their many floral donations. We collect and reuse them, time and time again. It saves us buying more, reduces the hospices' waste bill and stops them ending up in landfill. Job done!

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Image by Charlotte Bryer-Ash 

And it's not all about plastic. So here is a list of the steps we make daily in our work to do our bit for the planet:

  • No single-use plastics
  • Reusing plastics where we can - cable ties, plastic vials, and trays from the hospice
  • Recycling all cardboard - many of our flowers arrive in boxes
  • Using local flower growers as much as we can. We buy from at least two growers every week, ensuring that a high proportion of our fresh produce is locally grown. We look to increase this proportion year on year.
  • When we buy imported flowers we try to prioritise those growers who wrap their flowers in cardboard/paper (in preference to plastic wrap).
  • Where we can't avoid buying flowers that come in plastic wrap, we bag it up and recycle it responsibly. 
  • Our flowers are packaged in brown boxes and brown paper. 
  • We limit how far we will travel for bookings. There are great florists everywhere, so we don't need to travel hundreds of miles from Dorset to undertake weddings. Local is best, ideally within the Dorchester area.
  • Our office space is solar powered. 

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Image by Ian Jeffery Photography 

All this isn't just good for the planet, it's good for our bookings too. While writing this blog today I received a junk email that contained some non-junk information! It said "75% of consumers are more likely to purchase brands that offer green or sustainable products, and 49% said they would pay more for sustainable packaging and sustainable delivery." While we save up our pennies for an electric van, we can at least do our best to meet the first two criteria. 

Increasingly brides and grooms are seeking out suppliers who offer a nature-friendly option, and we can now happily say that we are a perfect-fit supplier for them. 

Thanks for taking the time to read about these important steps that we have made this year, and here's to a great wedding season 2024.