If your church uses floral foam for flower arranging ('oasis'), please consider the environmental impact:

1. FLORAL FOAM IS PLASTIC.

  • Because of its cellular foam structure, it very easily crumbles into microscopic fragments, adding to the global problem of microplastics.

2. FLORAL FOAM IS NOT BIODEGRADABLE.

  • Wherever it lands it will exist for an indefinite period of time. Eventually (over hundreds, thousands or millions of years) it will breakdown under other influences such as light, friction, heat or interactions with other chemicals in the environment.

3. WATER CONTAINING FLORAL FOAM SHOULD NEVER BE POURED DOWN THE SINK OR DRAIN.

  • Because floral foam is used wet and wastewater typically discarded into the sink or drain, it is undoubtedly adding to the problem of microplastic contamination in aquatic environments. Wastewater poured down a street gutter becomes part of the storm water system and will make its way to the nearest river before heading out to sea. Studies have shown that microplastics discarded into the in the sewerage system via a building’s internal plumbing can bypass sewage treatment processes and be re-released into the sea as post-treatment wastewater or back to farmland when the recovered sludge is used as fertiliser.

4. FLORAL FOAM HAS NO PLACE IN SUSTAINABLE FLORAL DESIGN.

  • At the heart of any sustainable business practice, the entire life-cycle of the materials used must be considered. Concerns about contamination of the aquatic environments aside, sending bulky, mostly single-use, non-biodegradable plastic to landfill is the antithesis of sustainable environmental practice.

Harpley Church has been using chicken wire and bamboo as alternatives and the Revd Jen Denniston would be happy to talk to other parishes. Here are Kate Hurst and Beryl Blackburn at Shelsley Beauchamp creating an arrangement without using oasis. 

empty vase

vase with mud

wet clay in vase

adding chicken wire

 adding waterarranging flowers