By Amanda Gain
The “Green” movement is an important growing trend, but did you know some businesses are naturally green? Those of us in the floral industry are one of those, and with some helpful tips, your home or business can be more eco-friendly, too.
“Going Green” means to be more earth-friendly and environmentally aware. Florists and growers by the nature of our business must be in tune with environmental issues. In order to continue to offer a top quality floral product, we must work to preserve and better the environment.
Try fluorescent lighting! Statistics from Energy Star show, if one American business or residence changed one regular bulb to fluorescent, the country would save $600 billion in annual energy costs and would prevent greenhouse gasses equivalent to emissions of over 800,000 vehicles. Our workroom, delivery and storage areas are all lit with fluorescent fixtures, as are our offices, coolers, and storefront. This reduces energy use, yet creates a well-lit atmosphere for customers and employees, alike.
“Recycle and Reuse!” Florists are experts at not only creating works of floral art and expression, but also at the “Recycle, Reuse” principle. Our tips and tricks to recycling and reusing can be worked into practice in your daily routine, at work or at home.
- Flowers, like other products, come in packaging. The flowers arrive in large cardboard boxes. We keep a closet full of these boxes that we reuse for deliveries or assisting customers in transporting their arrangements. In event we end up with a box surplus, we make a trip to the recycling center where they reuse our excess cardboard.
- Save a tree; reuse paper. When one side is printed or written on, flip it, and use the opposite side for the fax machine. Use this same paper and create makeshift notepads. When it’s reached its maximum potential, front and back, margin to margin, retire the paper to the recycling bin, along with newspapers and junk mail.
- Flowers from the markets often come secured with rubber bands. We work to save them. By carefully removing the bands, as opposed to cutting them, we can reuse them again and again!
- We even involve our customers in our recycling campaign. We have many customers who return vases and containers to us after the flowers have expired, and we now offer a small thank-you gift as an incentive for doing so. We use the containers, when possible, and if unable, we employ them as storage on our workbenches.
- We are also cautious about using aerosols. We have switched to a liquid mist leaf shine, as opposed to the aerosol variety we once used. The liquid alternative isn’t harmful to our environment or to our employees, and it’s completely odorless.
Most businesses and homes can easily adopt these routines. By extending the “green” way of thinking to both our colleagues and our customers, we can work to alter the global mindset, one business, and one person at a time.
Amanda Gain hails from the Illinois side of the Mississippi and is a designer at Dill’s Floral Haven and Candy Bouquet, a member of the St Louis Florist Network, in Belleville. She is currently studying for her AAS in Business Management degree and has plans to begin working toward her bachelor’s degree in Marketing, beginning next fall.