Brown's The Florist and the environment
At Brown’s The Florist, we are always looking for new initiatives to reduce our waste and environmental footprint. Here are some of the steps we have taken to date:
Recycling – We recycle everything we can…this includes our paper, cardboard, hard and soft plastics, cellophane, Styrofoam, metal and glass.
We are proud to say we initiated the coordination of collection of recyclables for all the businesses at 747 Fort Street, so it is now convenient for everyone in our office tower to recycle too. Thanks to our landlord for working with us on this!
Composting – We use local companies like Alpine and Refuse who process all of our organics. Refuse take our materials to a licensed composting facility where it is blended with yard and garden trimmings and fabricated into premium compost. This initiative has diverted over 85% of our waste from the landfill.
Coordinated deliveries – We use a delivery service which works for many other businesses besides ourselves. They pool their deliveries four times a day so that each vehicle goes to only one part of the city. This reduces mileage and fuel consumption, emissions, and the cost of delivery.
Buying Local – Our goal is to provide our customers with a wide selection of quality flowers every day. We shop internationally when we must, but whenever we can, we buy our products as close to home as possible, thus reducing the amount of fuel required to bring the products to our door. In an effort to better inform our customers, we are now labeling our products in the stores, to identify them as BC grown.
We believe in supporting our local economy and helping to provide jobs in our community. Sometimes it costs a bit more, but it is just the right thing to do.
Fair Trade Farmers – When we do shop internationally we use only trusted suppliers. We know they source out growers who have been inspected to ensure they are using fair labor practices and are following regulations regarding the safe use of pesticides.
Environmental Packaging – We offer our in-store customers two choices when wrapping their floral bouquets. The first is our traditional option, using recyclable clear cellophane and rice paper. The second is our eco-friendly packaging option, using unbleached recycled paper and raffia. While there is still a need for a small of amount of plastic around the bottom of the stems to keep the paper dry, the environmental impact is less than with our traditional wrap.
Other initiatives to reduce re-use and recycle…. We only use plant sleeves when protection from the weather is a must, and they too are made from recycled paper. We re-use Styrofoam peanuts for drainage in our planter baskets. We only print what we must, and we print on both sides of the paper.
Plastic Bag Free – We are pleased to announce as of July 1st 2018 we have moved to a “plastic bag free” company and also to be compliant in markets that have banned the use of them. The choice is yours – you can bring your own bag or we offer recycled paper bags for a small charge.
What about pesticides? Canadian regulations regarding the safe use of pesticides are much more stringent than in many other countries. More and more, our local growers are using natural predators to control unwanted pests, and growers are inspected frequently to ensure they are following legislation. Sometimes now, we do find pests on some of our flowers….but we are more relaxed about this than we used to be. A few pests are preferable to toxic chemicals. Fewer pesticides – another great reason to buy local whenever we can!
Organic Flowers? Pesticide use is on a rapid decline, and we do see some small local farmers growing organic field flowers; however, we are not yet seeing “organic” crops from the big commercial growers. This is partly because they grow hydroponically, inspiring the use of chemical fertilizers, and partly because they are growing ornamental crops – they need to look good, and, of course, they will not be eaten. There is more work to be done here and much will depend on public demand.