Cuckfield florist's push to make funeral industry more eco friendly

Chez Fleur florist, Belinda Campopiano
Chez Fleur florist, Belinda Campopiano

A Cuckfield based florist wants to send out an environmentally friendly message to consumers and others in her field.

Chez Fleur florist, Belinda Campopiano, is hoping to raise awareness about the use of floral foam for funeral flowers and large scale arrangements.

A funeral sheath Belinda has made

A funeral sheath Belinda has made

Belinda explained how the traditional foam used by many florists up and down the country is non biodegradable and can cause many issues for the environment.

She said: “Most members of the public are not aware that the floral foam, such as the well-known brand Oasis, which is used for funeral arrangements is not biodegradable nor is it reusable.”

A supposedly biodegradable version has recently been introduced but it still only breaks down in very specific landfill conditions which cannot be guaranteed.

Floral foam is widely used because it is extremely useful. Using it to anchor flower stems in it, florists can build enormous and in some cases gravity defying arrangements.

A rose sheath made by Chez Fleur

A rose sheath made by Chez Fleur

The foam soaks up water which improves the longevity of the flowers.

Belinda said: “It is easy to see why floral foam has become so popular - it is lightweight to store, extremely easy to use, and inexpensive to buy.

“But once the flowers have faded the foam will remain for hundreds, possibly thousands of years.”

Oasis is made of microplastics, and due to it’s cellular foam structure, it easily crumbles into micro plastic fragments, adding to the existing global problem.

Some experts even suggest that these foam blocks should not be thrown in with the general rubbish, as they will not break down in landfill.

Another alarming fact is that when floral foam is soaked in water to prepare it for use the excess water is then poured away containing micro particles of foam which are washed away into the water system and ultimately can affect marine life

Belinda explained that there is a ‘no floral foam’ movement which is gaining momentum and many high profile florists have completely reverted to old fashioned techniques such as; chicken wire, pin holders and the use of foliage to support the flowers.

Belinda said: “As a florist I much prefer the natural look of flowers arranged using the alternative methods described because they look how flowers should look – flowing and free and not stiffly placed in the block of foam in an unnatural position.”

For funerals Belinda recommends an environmentally friendly hand tied sheath finished with raffia or an arrangement using a biodegradable copper wire base.

The popular pictorial tributes, such as spelling out the deceased’s name, are all made with foam and are left behind in cemeteries until they are removed to landfill where they remain for years and years.

Many florists are now recognising that foam has no place in sustainable floral design. At the heart of any sustainable business practice, the entire life-cycle of the materials used most frequently must be considered. The ever-growing concerns of contamination of rivers and oceans set aside, sending these bulky, single-use, non biodegradable plastics to landfill is the antithesis of sustainable environmental practice.

If you are interested in ordering a foam free tribute contact Belinda via email: belinda@chezfleur.co.uk or call 07811 892644