Floral foam, also known as Oasis, is the green foam blocks used by florists to display flowers. The floristry world loved it for it’s ability to hold flowers tightly in place, keep flowers hydrated for days on end and because it’s so simple to use. However, it's now being brought to the industry’s attention that floral foam is not environmentally friendly, in fact it’s environmentally harmful. Floral foam is plastic, which when used releases all kinds of nasty toxic chemicals including formaldehyde and sulphur dioxide. It easily breaks up in to dust and can irritate eyes, skin and your lungs and is carcinogenic. Yet many florists continue to work with this whilst being exposed to these toxins on a daily basis. Not only that, but floral foam won't breakdown when disposed of in landfill and leaks toxic gasses in to the environment. The plastic dust can also end up in our waters, which is then harmful to sea life that consumes this.
And beware of biodegradable alternatives. Not just for flower foam, but all kinds of biodegradable products. When they go in the bin in the UK, they aren’t sent to an environment that will allow these products to biodegrade, they are sent to landfill where the conditions are about storing waste not decomposing it. So despite it's ability to biodegrade, it won't be able to.
Floral foam is another single use plastic that we don't need to be using. Florists who do, end up using tonnes of it, all ending up in landfill, polluting our environment. Florists who are environmentally conscious have been ditching floral foam and using their creativity to arrange flowers with alternative methods. One option is to simply choose the right size and shaped vases that don’t require additional support for the stems. Floral tape can be used over the vase to help create more structure. Alternatively, chicken wire is shaped in to a ball and stems are inserted through the holes to create further support. There are a whole range of other options, that might require a bit more effort than using floral foam but are eco friendly.
When choosing your florist, this might be something you feel is worth discussing, bringing your wedding even more in line with your values.