Collating Compost

The studio and shop are overflowing with bags of green waste, propped under work tops and purposely placed out of peripheral vision , I am responsible and I am the first to acknowledge how annoying this is.

In May I decided as a business that we could no longer live with the uncertainty of putting the mountains of green waste we produce into ‘general recycling’.

I have spent years using a company where we split our plastic waste and cardboard, but the green waste remained an anomaly in terms of being able to dispose of it responsibly on a commercial scale. I spoke with so many different recycling companies and the general consensus was that on some level biodegradable matter actually aids permeation in landfill , however I was and am still sure that as a business owner and general human you have a responsibility to fully understand where the waste you create goes and an acknowledgement that it does not just disappear into a giant ethical recycling haven, to me personally I felt as though it made better sense to try and compost it, ultimately there probably is a counter argument for this.

Long term floristry professionals can tell you how bad this industry is for the environment, we knew it years ago, we knew it before floristry was glorified on Instagram, it’s the elephant in the room of the so called ‘ dream job’ ( we also knew, it was not the dream job Instagram portrays it as, that’s for another day as always )

My dad has for a long time had a large compost heap as he cuts grass for a living and recently through his work started to work with a large scale composting machine ( it think this machine helps to break down the compost, although I will have to come back to you to fully confirm the technical functionality of this.) I decided this was were my green waste was heading too, It’s often a 7 hour round trip and I feel hypocritical about the environmental impacts of driving vs trying to do what I think is the better thing by composting.

I can acknowledge it is unthinkable for many florists , so many people told me I simply couldn’t do it and that I didn’t have time and they are right in some ways. Change isn’t particularly easy when you are accustomed to working in a particular way. My team have had to adapt to multiple switch ups and changes in order for us to try and ensure that everything still runs smoothly.

For one we can’t put our waste out every day any more like we used to, the idea of coming into a fresh clean shop every morning, has gone. The green waste bags are like the ghost you always knew was at your Nans house, it’s there when you leave at night and it’s there when you get back in the morning, silently starting to fester. Initially there’s just an earthy lingering in the air - this turns sour, pure stench comes next.

I can see the girls are torn, they agree with the composting, but the reality of the smell and the slime and slow decomposing mess the work amongst now is more than they bargained for when they applied for job here. ( i’m sorry !!!)

The card of good fortune gave me a studio on Hoxton street with no clientele for passing trade but two excellent outdoor concrete sheds, they have never come in to their own more than in the past 3 months. Right now they are the only reason we can ensure that we know what happens to our green waste, we collate the full bags of green waste over the week they are stored in these cupboards and then painfully dragged by me and the girls ( I think that’s their most hated part ) into the van and I am driving them up the M40.

It is much more complex than putting a bag on the street one night, coming back the next morning and never thinking about where that waste has gone. But it is so much better.

It ultimately needs fine tuning in some areas, but if more florists were involved then a collection service could take place, there’s many places this could go, I have more to add and I will soon.

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Hattie Fox