Promoting plastic-free floristry at SMCT

28 June 2024
Florist woman with brown hair holding a bouquet of beautiful flowers at the florist shop at Springvale Botanical Cemetery.
SMCT’s Florist Team Leader Gina Kelly is committed to being a pioneer in sustainable floristry practices.

Did you know plastic waste can decompose in landfills for up to 1,000 years? With Plastic Free July this month, we’re excited to share some of our plastic-free florist initiatives. At SMCT, we're committed to environmental sustainability and reducing plastic waste in our beautiful cemeteries and memorial parks.

SMCT’s Environmental Strategy Manager, Nina Thomas, is proud of our commitment to improving the sustainability of our sites through our Environmental Strategy.

“The strategy is trying to deliver on a whole range of environmental initiatives—improving biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving our waste diversion, and increasing recycling,” said Nina.

Our Environmental Strategy is like the foundational roots, guiding us in our mission to improve the sustainability of our sites, while our plastic-free florist initiatives are like the blossoming branches, transforming our commitment into eco-friendly practices.

Innovative changes in our florist services

Over the past year, we’ve made significant changes to reduce plastic use in our florist services. Our Florist Team Leader, Gina Kelly, is passionate about creating meaningful florist initiatives that not only prioritise its customers but also the environment.

“It all starts with the kraft bags we use. Instead of single-use plastic bags, we now use recyclable Kraft paper bags, which are better for the environment,” said Gina.

We have also phased out foil and plastic balloons, replacing them with natural plywood picks. This change not only cuts down on plastic waste but creates a natural aesthetic look.

At the point of sale, we remove plastic and foil from cut flowers to make our products as eco-friendly as possible. When you purchase flowers for our grounds, you will notice they are wrapped in Kraft paper instead of plastic. We also use twine for hand-tied bouquets rather than plastic ties.

Bouquet of flowers resting on kraft paper.
At SMCT, we prefer wrapping our floral arrangements in recyclable Kraft paper.

Offering more eco-friendly material options

Our commitment to sustainability extends to the materials we offer for our floral arrangements. For instance, we sell reusable tins and ceramic vessels, which can be used to replace traditional plastic cups, foam, and cellophane.

“We are trying to reduce the number of single-use materials. So, that’s why we are committed to providing our customers with more reusable alternatives. These not only reduce plastic waste but also provide more durable and aesthetically pleasing options,” said Gina.

For graveside flowers, we use hand-tied posies in tins instead of floral foam, which is a microplastic. This change is part of our broader effort to minimise the environmental impact of our services. For funeral services, we offer sustainable options such as chicken wire bases and palm husk alternatives to cater to our environmentally conscious customers.

Supporting local suppliers and wholesalers

Our focus on sustainability also includes the giftware we offer. Our florist team prioritises locally produced items, supporting our local agriculture community and our floral offerings to be fresh and seasonal with the environment.

“We work with local flower suppliers and wholesalers, choosing seasonally grown flowers to reduce our carbon footprint linked to long-distance shipping,” said Gina.

Fresh and seasonal native flower bouquets being sold at the counter by a florist woman with brown hair.
Fresh and seasonal native floral arrangements are regularly sold at Café Vita et flores.

Reducing windblown litter on our sites

Beyond our floristry practices, we encourage our community members and visitors to dispose of their waste responsibly. Floral arrangements and memorabilia placed within our burial areas can easily become windblown.

We recommend that you firmly secure flowers or personal tributes when placing them at your loved ones' graves before you leave. In many cases, a sturdy vase for flowers or a small stone for lightweight mementos will help prevent items from blowing away in the wind or being washed away by the rain.

Wide shot of floral arrangements and memorabilia on lawn graves under trees at Springvale Botanical Cemetery.
Please make sure your floral arrangements and memorabilia are firmly secured at your loved one’s resting place to prevent them from being blown or washed away.

Measuring our impact

The impact of these initiatives has been substantial. Since implementing these changes, we’ve made a significant reduction in the amount of plastic waste generated at SMCT. Thanks to our efforts, we’re saving considerable plastic from entering the environment. This progress is a testament to our dedication to creating a more sustainable future.

"How we care for and treat our sites today determines how we leave them for future generations. At SMCT, we are committed to creating a beautiful legacy for our future and our organisation,” said Nina.

Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond Plastic Free July. We continuously educate our community on best practices for waste management on our cemetery grounds. By choosing plastic-free options and disposing of waste responsibly, we can all contribute to a more sustainable and beautiful environment.

“Our florists at SMCT are dedicated to reducing plastic waste and understand the detrimental impact the industry has on our environment. We have this at the forefront of our minds. Come along with us and say no to plastics in floristry,” said Gina.

SMCT is committed to improving sustainability in café and floristry practices. Join us in our efforts towards a more sustainable future by embracing these changes and helping us reduce plastic waste. Together, we can make a difference.

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