A close up of a Calyx Floral Design bouquet made up of gorgeous, colourful locally grown, sustainable flowers

There is growing concern surrounding climate change and I know many of us care about making more environmentally friendly choices, so today we are going to talk about sustainability within the floral industry. Or several of the challenges around it, rather, and what kind of choices we can make when purchasing flower to reduce our impact.

I do want to start by briefly touching on the fact that I know it can feel very overwhelming and even hopeless at times. It can feel like a giant mess, that feels too big to fix, and we can’t possibly make a difference. I also think that there are some big powers/systems out there that primary contributors to the problem, and it feels frustrating that responsibility basically gets passed off to individual people to make more eco-friendly choices to try to fix things.

While perhaps our individual choices may not the primary problem, they do have impact and it is something we have power over. Us making a point to make better choices does make a difference, and especially if we encourage more people to make more conscious choices – that there is strength in numbers. It can be in small things, like choosing to repurpose items, turn off lights behind you – or in bigger actions, like paying more attention to the companies you are purchasing from. How we spend our money is a little bit like voting, by continuing to spend our money with companies whose values do not align with our own, we continue to support them and the choices they are making. Cough, stop buying from Shein, cough.


A large portion of the flowers sold in North America are not grown here. Obviously, we don’t have the temperatures to grow flowers year-round in Central Alberta. We get flowers in from all over the world, which is amazing. However, it does result in the flowers being transported a number of times, passing through many hands before they reach a florist! They also need to be refrigerated, naturally, for the entirety of the journey – which consumes even more energy.

As well as the transportation, different countries will have varying rules/regulations on the use of chemicals during growing. There may even be fungicides used prior to shipping to comply with import regulations. It is a safe assumption that any imported flowers have seen a number of different chemicals. I would not recommend ever using commercially grown flowers for anything you are going to consume or use for skincare products on your body such as things like rose water, soaps, creams etc. Additionally, not exactly eco-friendly related, but some countries may also have some issues with not paying decent wages or providing safe work environments.

Products like floral foam are commonly used designing. They provide flowers with water to keep them alive – 50 times their weight in water! They also give a designer a lot of control of where exactly a flower will stay. Especially for event work to do big pieces like archways, or funeral arrangements, where using a vase isn’t optional. Currently floral foam isn’t biodegradable, contributes to microplastic pollution and made of carcinogenic materials – that while they have been deemed safe to handle, do have environmental impacts. As a positive, there are a few new alternative options, and they are continuing to work on improving them.

Lastly, there is just a lot of waste that is hard to avoid. Plastic sleeves around bouquets to protect the flowers from being damaged. An arrangement going out in a box, with paper (to prevent it from tipping over) and wrapped in a plastic bag to protect it from the cold temps. Flowers are often pretty delicate and this packaging is needed to ensure they arrive in best condition possible.

A flat lay image showing part of a bouquet with the ribbons splayed out, floral clippers and a couple extra blooms laying on a table top.


So… those things are kind of a bummer, I agree. What can we do about it? When trying to make more eco-friendly choices it can feel very tempting to be really all or nothing about it. Like if we can’t be perfect, is there even a point? Which is hard, it can require a lot of time and energy to research better alternatives to what we are currently doing – and that is time and energy that we don’t all have. It can also require resources to make the switch to different products. But things aren’t so black and white, there is actually a lot of grey area for us to be able to make improvements.

I think it is important to remember this, because even if we can’t afford to buy everything organic or have the time/space to grow all our own vegetables, there are a ton of small little decisions that we can make, to move towards being more environmentally friendly. And – it is arguably better to do so this way. By not trying to make a completely radical 360 degree change in our life, we can start with smaller choices and continue to build on that foundation – it adds up over to time to being things that we can keep up. Just like regularly trying to add on sustainable healthy habits over time, rather than trying to jump to perfectly clean eating and exercising vigorously 7 days a week. There is a higher chance of keeping up with it, rather than feeling like a failure and giving up.

Another positive – it is honestly pretty simple. Just like we were taught as kids, reduce, reuse, recycle. You don’t have to be PERFECT, but by keeping these things in mind, based on your values, needs and the resources available to you, can make better, more sustainable choices.

An assortment of vases on a mantle with white flowering branches sticking out of one of them


With imported flowers requiring a lot of energy, often having a lot more chemical use, and also using more waste (packaging changing at each step), you can reduce the impact by choosing to buy locally grown. While this isn’t an option year-round in Canada, it is doable for summer months! Talk to your florist about sourcing locally grown products for your wedding is a really great way to be more eco-friendly. It may require being a bit more flexible on the design, as weather can’t be controlled, if you trust your florist to get your vision it shouldn’t be an issue.

If you are buying flowers as a gift, you could request locally grown flowers during the summer season or could choose to go with a flowering or tropical plant. Lots of plants would still be grown domestically and would come with many of the same benefits* as having fresh cut flowers.

Knowing that flower foam can be problematic, we can choose to reduce our consumption of it. You can request arrangements that do not require floral foam, or that an alternative, such as Agra Wool or even chicken wire be used instead.


Making sure we get the MOST use out of things is a great way to take better care of our planet. There are actually quite a number of ways we can do this.

Firstly, Calyx Floral Design now offers a vase exchange program. If you are a regular Calyx customer or have received a number of Calyx arrangements over the years you may have a number of vases or containers from us in your cupboard gathering dust. You can either bring them in to reuse, OR if they are undamaged you bring back a Calyx vase or container and we will issue a gift card for partial value of the vases!

There are a number of ways that you can reuse the floral goods in your arrangements as well. Some items dry really well and can be pulled out and saved for you to use in small home decor or to add to future arrangements. Other flowers can be used to create fabric dyes or used in a flower pounding on paper or fabric. You can also press flowers to use later in crafts. Endless creative options here!

When it comes to weddings, making sure that you are getting the most out of your flowers. Ex. Aisle markers being reused as centrepieces at the reception or moving the archway from the ceremony to being a photobooth backdrop or whatever. If you are doing this you do need to keep in mind you need someone to move them, either paying your floral team for the service (especially if it is a bigger piece like an archway) or assigning the job to a trusted family member.

Another option is to purchase the vases for your centrepieces, rather than use rentals so that guests may take them home. If the vases all need to be returned to the rental company, either your guests have to take the flowers without a water source (which isn’t ideal, especially for out of town guests) or all the flowers end up in the garbage. Another option is to donate flowers. Taking any leftover arrangements to somewhere like nursing homes can really bring a lot of cheer and saves the flowers from just being thrown away. Something to consider ahead of time as you are planning out your special day!


Lastly, for the waste that is unavoidable with packaging, make sure to recycle what you can! Even the packaging I find is easy to reuse as well (love the paper Calyx Floral Design gift bags!), but if you know you won’t get around to using them, make sure any and all paper, cardboard, plastics are appropriately recycled.

Again, whether we recycle one individual box might not be the make it or break it in the big scheme of things, small changes do add up over time, especially when a lot of people are doing them! By making small changes when we can, where we can and focusing on what we DO have control over – we can make a positive change! Calyx Floral Design is working at incorporating more sustainable practices and we hope you will join us too! Thank you for taking the time to learn more about challenges we face with sustainability in the floral industry, and how you can help.

Love these flowers?

With Calyx as your floral partner, every detail of your day will be carefully crafted and curated to your unique vision.

An unparalleled experience.

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