When we think of sustainability, a few buzzwords come to mind – Renewable energy, energy efficiency, eco-friendly, and the like. These initiatives can be daunting for your small flower businesses that might just be trying to earn a little profit. Many florists have told us that they would like to be more sustainable, but the options available are expensive and hard to sell to the demographic in their immediate market.
True, enough. If most people had to choose between sustainability and providing for themselves, the latter would be the immediate necessity. But these don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Let’s take this quote as food for thought:
“Spring: a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be.”
The key word here is change. But change doesn’t need to solve the big buzzwords. Instead, change can be finding ways to marginally contribute to sustainability in a financially sustainable way for your business.
That is why we invited our 2023 #FSLiving featured florist, Donald Yim, to break sustainability down into a more bite-sized piece through a process called upcycling.
What is upcycling?
Upcycling is the process of using materials seen as waste to create something useful or of increased value. As Donald Yim puts it, “the old saying goes: someone’s trash is another person’s treasure.” In this case, your own trash is your own treasure.
Really, it’s about finding creative ways to reuse old or waste materials lying around your business. Doing so can help you increase profits through the continual use of a product. It also allows you to add a unique offering to your product line, and can help you to tap into a new market demographic.
And these are only the added benefits. Upcycling’s true impact is on the environment, and it’s no joke. According to Organic Amrit, upcycling reduces the number of items going to landfills, which preserves valuable raw materials as fewer products need to be produced. By allowing single-use items to be used indefinitely, you can decrease land, water, and air pollution in a realistic way for your business.
How Donald Yim finds ways to Upcycle:
Donald has become accustomed to keeping his eye out for different materials and textures as he goes about his day. He finds unique shapes, forms, and lines to use in a design from practically anything.
For example, Donald once received roses from Florists Supply and was intrigued by the packaging. He saw the packaging’s corrugated lines as an attractive texture for a floral design. After some thought, Donald knew he could create a unique arrangement by cutting the paper into small rectangles and forming them into seven cone shapes.
He then made it a freestanding container by hot gluing all seven cones together, creating a sleek look. To strengthen the design’s aesthetic, Donald glued it to a plate and added rocks at its base. The rocks hide his mechanics and added style to the design
Because this container is made of paper, water can’t be poured directly into it. Donald’s solution to this was to simply place water tubes inside the cones. This allowed him to create the beautiful red arrangement above using fresh flowers. It also worked as a perfect vessel for the permanent arrangement Donald did below.
If you are not a fan of the Kraft brown paper colour, you can spray paint them to a colour that better suits your style or design. In any case, this creates a totally distinctive and one-of-a-kind design perfect for a centre arrangement at an event or in a business setting. One of the best things about crafting upcycled containers is they are incredibly adaptable to your design, making the possibilities endless.
Try it for yourself and help the environment!
Being a creative industry, Upcycling is a simple but impactful way for your shop to become more sustainable. It is also a fun way to flex your creative mind and add value to your store. So, pay attention to what you put in your garbage or recycling. You never know what treasures you can find.
We would love to see you get creative and try it for yourself. If you like this idea and find ways to upcycle material in your shop, show us by tagging us on Instagram or Facebook!