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Eco-Friendly Funeral Flowers: Sustainable Choices for Memorial Services

At KORU Cremation | Burial | Ceremony, we specialize in natural and eco-friendly death care practices for body care, disposition, burials, memorials, and more. We are proud to work with innovative organizations that are changing the death care industry for the better, particularly when it comes to sustainability. 

This is the second article in a 4-part series on more sustainable choices that folks can make when it comes to death care. In this post, we’re showcasing eco-friendly options for funeral and memorial flowers, and introducing a florist partner who has worked closely with us to develop more sustainable floral options for our clients.

The Environmental Impact of the Floral Industry

Unfortunately, the floral industry currently consumes a significant amount of water for growing flowers, uses many harmful pesticides, and has a large carbon footprint from the import and transport of flowers from their original growing locations.Meanwhile, single-use plastics like unrecyclable cellophane and wrapping are commonplace, and the floral foam used in many floral arrangements breaks down into microplastics that can harm marine life as well as pose a risk to human respiratory health.

How to Make More Sustainable Floral Choices

For those looking to decrease the environmental impact of their funeral services, celebrations of life, and other end-of-life memorials, we wanted to share some sustainable alternatives when it comes to sourcing flowers and floral arrangements. Here’s what to look for:

  • Local, seasonal flowers: Choosing flowers that are locally grown and in season supports local economies AND reduces your carbon footprint because they require less transportation. As a bonus, seasonal flowers are often fresher and more vibrant. 
  • Organic flowers: Opting for flowers that are grown without the use of pesticides offers health benefits for both humans and the environment. By supporting organic farming, you’re supporting sustainable agricultural practices that don’t require workers, plants, or ecosystems to come into contact with harmful chemicals.  
  • Biodegradable or recyclable floral arrangements: Many conventional arrangements and wreaths use non-biodegradable or recyclable materials such as single-use plastics and floral foam. Try replacing these with natural, compostable, thrifted, salvaged, recycled, or recyclable materials when it comes to containers and accessories.
  • Living memorials: Instead of cut flowers, consider creating a living tribute that continues to grow and thrive. Plant a tree, shrub, or perennial plant instead of purchasing flowers that will not live on.

Benefits of Eco-Friendly Memorial Flower Choices

Making more sustainable choices when it comes to funeral flowers and memorial wreaths can have a big ripple effect. Here are some advantages to choosing eco-friendly floral options:

  • Protect the environment: Of course, you already know this one! But to get more specific, the choices you make can help reduce waste, pollution, and carbon emissions, as well as supporting healthier and more biodiverse agricultural and marine ecosystems. 
  • Create a meaningful tribute: Aligning your memorial choices with your loved one’s sustainable values is a beautiful way to honour them. It can also inspire others to foster a sense of connection with nature.
  • Support local: Choosing to buy from small, local growers and businesses supports your local economy.

Spotlight: Arbutus Florist

At KORU Cremation | Burial | Ceremony, we are always on the lookout for more sustainable practices we can bring to death care. So we were delighted when Arbutus Florist, a local Vancouver business, came to us with an idea for a casket spray arrangement that uses a moss-covered ball of soil, or kokedama, as a base. Instead of using cut flowers, living plants are rooted in the moss ball – no pot required. As it grows, it can be watered by submerging the moss ball in water for 20 to 25 seconds. 

Arbutus Florist also incorporates other sustainable practices in their daily operations. Due to its harmful microplastics, they aim to minimize their usage of floral foam. Instead, they use agrawool, chicken wire and gridding tape in their arrangements. Any floral foam that they do use is reused as much as possible to limit the discarded amount. For floral products that use a wire structure, Arbutus Florist asks that any chicken wire from the arrangement be saved at the funeral home or memorial location so that their driver can retrieve it. It’s then reused in future arrangements.

We’re proud to work with this innovative local business dedicated to promoting sustainable practices in their work. Browse their selection of memorial flower offerings or contact them at 604-731-3313 or [email protected] for more information. We can also help facilitate an arrangement for you as part of our service bundles.

To learn more about sustainability in the floral industry, check out the Slow Flowers movement and the Sustainable Floristry Network, and contact us to learn more about planning a more eco-friendly farewell. 

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