On April 22, 1970, American Senator Gaylord Nelson and grassroots activists organized the first Earth Day in response to a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. This day saw millions of Americans take action to raise awareness about the deterioration of the environment and put these concerns on the front page. In the 52 years since, our world has seen a tremendous shift toward more eco-friendly products and practices. Earth Day has grown into Earth Month to help advocate for environmentally conscious practices in both the private and public sectors worldwide.
Florists Supply Earth Month Campaign
At Florists Supply, we are using the Earth Month platform to increase awareness about some of our own sustainable initiatives and product options that promote caring for the environment.
Stay tuned throughout the rest of April as we present our three-part #FSLiving Earth Month Journal series where we talk about changes at Florists Supply as well as within the industry by highlighting product trends in both supplies and fresh.
Buckle up for part one that focuses on the shift toward more sustainable floral supplies!
Part I – #FSLiving Earth Month Journal Series, Floral Supplies
Florists Supply President and COO, Laurie Nesbitt, reflected on the industry when he started 27 years ago. In 1995, when he joined Florists Supply, most industries (and the world in general) were less focused on sustainable practices and products. Fast-forwarding to 2022, we now see environmental consciousness at the forefront. This has created market shifts toward more eco-friendly products and an emphasized awareness of a company’s environmental impact.
So, what is Florists Supply and the floral industry doing today that is better for the environment than 27 years ago? Let’s start by looking at some of the changes in floral supply products.
Floral Supply Product Changes
- Single-use plastic Sentiments: Plastic picks like “Happy Birthday” are on the way out. While we do have a few plastic picks left in stock, our Sentiment picks have mostly switched to wood. Despite being more expensive than plastic, our customer base has largely adopted wood picks.
- Plastic Cardettes: Plastic Cardettes (or greeting cardholders) are still widely used in the industry but Florists Supply developed a Bamboo cardholder, constructed entirely of natural products, to provide an alternative option for our customers. Because our bamboo cardholder is handmade, it is more expensive than a plastic cardette that comes off a press. In its introductory year (2021) we sold 12,500 bamboo cardholders. While this is a small percentage compared to the number of plastic cardette holders sold, it is still an improvement and we continue to explore options.
- Bouquet Holders: The use of a plastic bouquet holder with floral foam has declined significantly. In 1995 almost all bridal bouquets were designed in a bouquet holder. Florists have instead turned to hand-tied bouquets using binding products – some that are natural like bind rope, burlap, and raffia. The number of plastic/foam bouquet holders we sold in 2019 versus 2015 fell by 50%.
- Boxes and Trays: 27 years ago, all of the delivery boxes and trays we sold were white. We have since switched all of them over to Kraft so the boxes do not need to be bleached. We do still sell a 4-colour assortment delivery box in one size though.
- Floral Design Containers: The percentage of plastic floral design containers sold has dropped considerably over the last 27 years. The industry has asked for more containers made from natural products – wooden boxes are a good example. Gradually our plastic container offerings have been reducing as vendors begin to introduce more recycled and biodegradable plastics, some of which we currently offer or may offer in the future.
- Wrapping Paper: Natural Kraft paper is the number one selling wrapping paper today for Florists Supply. Kraft paper requires less bleaching and ink than printed colour paper. Historically, printed paper was the leader in sales but that is no longer the case. We also sell Kraft Paper Bouquet Sleeves, with some made from 100% Recycled Kraft and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper. We also recently started carrying an FSC certified paper. We also recently started carrying an FSC Certified Kraft Pot Cover. The FSC is a nonprofit organization of multi-stakeholders created in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.
- Glassware: Industry vendors have started offering glassware made from recycled glass. We carry the G3 line, made of 100% post-consumer recycled glass, and its popularity has grown over the years.
- Crafting Foam: Once called Styrofoam, Crafting Foam is now simply known as FoM. The manufacturer, Floracraft, now uses 20% post-consumer recycled polystyrene to make its product called FoM. For more information watch their video below:
- Corsage Boxes: In 2022, we started offering compostable Sugar Cane Corsage Boxes as a substitute for our traditional clear plastic boxes. We also now offer a corsage box made of polylactic acid (PLA). PLA is a thermoplastic monomer derived from renewable, organic sources such as corn starch or sugar cane, making it compostable.
- Floral Foams: More earth-friendly floral foams now exist like Smithers-Oasis’ 567-day biodegradable foam and Agra Wool Foam. Agra Wool is made from Basalt and Sucrose – 100% natural materials that are completely biodegradable. Florists Supply became a distributor of Agra Wool in 2021.
- Flower Food Powder Sachets: Paper packages are beginning to replace plastic packaging. Compostable sachets already exist in Europe and are being tested by Smithers-Oasis in North America. Chrysal has also announced a compostable sachet coming to the North American market this year.
- Dried Botanicals: The popularity of these products has grown as consumers and florists’ tastes trend toward using more drieds in everyday designs and décor. Florists Supply has expanded its dried botanical offerings and will be expanding it even further in the second half of 2022. Keep an eye out for our sixty new products launching in our 2022 Fall and Holiday Catalogue.
- Bags: In 2022, Florists Supply is actively getting quotes for biodegradable bags that are resold to customers and also used internally. We hope to introduce biodegradable bags as an option in the very near future.
Stick around for more sustainable product features coming in parts two and three as well as the introduction of new earth-conscious products and initiatives at Florists Supply throughout the year. #FSLiving