Recycle Rebloom Reuse

Spreading cheer with recycled flowers

Spreading cheer with recycled flowers

November 15 is National Recycling Day so it feels like a good time to share some ideas to recycle and reuse (and rebloom!) the designs we create. Why trash those gorgeous arrangements immediately following the big event? Our dear friend, Derek Woodruff, is a guest blogger this week. He’ll share notes about a clever flower recycling program he’s established for making sure his florals have happy homes after weddings and events.

Derek writes, “Over the past five years as a floral designer, I have met some talented people and worked with some amazing organizations within the industry. I am always impressed by how many clever ideas I have heard about and how creative people can be when it comes to working with flowers. One of the most significant ideas I heard about from a colleague has become an important practice in my own career and life:  Recycling Flowers.  And I’m not talking about composting, or green waste management.  This is about using each single cut flower to its greatest potential, and never letting anything go to waste.

My first encounter with a floral recycling program was during a training session for AIFD with my good friend Jackie Burrell, AIFD.  I was participating in a practice PFDE session in her shop and came across an office full of photographs of happy strangers and thank you notes.  These were all in response to a program created by Jackie called Flowers for Friends.  It works like this: after each wedding or event designed by Flowers from Sky’s the Limit [Petoskey MI], all of the arrangements are brought back to the store.  A rag-tag team of volunteers re-arrange all of the cut flowers into new, deliverable arrangements.  The arrangements are then distributed into the community in places like hospitals, senior living homes, etc.

While attending the national AIFD Symposium, I was introduced to yet another floral recycling program, Blooms Over.  The point of the program is to spread as much floral cheer throughout the hosting city as possible starting at the beginning of the symposium. Volunteers host a “pedestrian pop-up bouquet giveaway.” The Blooms Over event features designers who distribute hand-tied floral bouquets to pedestrians. The bouquets each have a #blooms sticker adorned to them to encourage sharing photos on social media.  Volunteers also go to local care homes and hospices to set up beautiful floral arrangements throughout the facilities, and hand out bouquets to employees, staff and patients.

Because of the joy that I have witnessed as a result of these programs, plus a little encouragement from a friend, Laurie Borysiak (Food Pantry Volunteer for Father Fred), I helped to establish a floral recycling program in my hometown of Traverse City Michigan.  After a large wedding or event, all of the flowers are picked up and taken to the Father Fred Food Pantry.  The flowers are then re-arranged by volunteers into containers and vases that have been donated to the non-profit organization.  That same day, when those in need come to the food pantry, they are also able to take with them a lush bouquet of fresh flowers.  “You wouldn’t believe the smiles on people’s faces when they get their flowers.  It really brightens their day!” – Laurie Borysiak.”

Flowers for Friends 2

Gently used flowers are re-arranged by volunteers into containers and vases that have been donated to the non-profit organization.

Flowers for Friends 5

After a large wedding or event, the flowers are picked up and taken to the Father Fred Food Pantry for a makeover!

Blooms Over 4

Volunteers host a “pedestrian pop-up bouquet giveaway.”

Flowers for Friends 7

New friendships bloom at Flowers for Friends, thanks to recycled flowers!

Food Pantry

Say Cheese, Ladies! You’ve been gifted with recycled flowers! (smile extra big… it’s in Syndicate glass!)

Flowers for Friends 1

Recycled Flowers = Fresh Smiles

Blooms Over 1

another unexpecting (and happy) flower recipient!

Find ways to make a difference in your community by starting your own floral recycling program.  It’s easier than you think!

Cheers to Derek and everyone who’s recycling, reusing, and re-blooming each stem.

Thanks again to Derek C. Woodruff AIFD CFD CF PFCI for sharing!