Trentham’s Sandy McKinley, owner of Acre of Roses and co-founder of Consortium Botanicus, says the amount of plastic waste created by the floral industry is unprecedented and now is the time for innovation.
“Consortium Botanicus focuses on sustainable micro-farming and encouraging people to buy local flowers. We use a closed loop farming system, meaning we use neither pesticides or herbicides. One of the things we are about is sustainability and doing things differently,” she said. “A growing area in the industry is waste management as many of the products we use can only be disposed of at the tip. There is a rapidly growing group of flower farmers with smaller sized properties, some only an acre big, who are growing commercial crops for events and weddings.”
Ms McKinley said the national focus on banning plastic bags was the first step in reducing plastics and other industries should start thinking about the waste they produce and how it impacts the environment. She said there is an ever growing question as to how small businesses can ethically and sustainably dispose of waste. She said some of the items florists use like plastic cable ties and foam can be neither composted or recycled.
“Daylesford Macedon Ranges is very much a region for destination weddings which means that so much waste is being generated here.
“Our flowers can be eaten, so we send them off to be made into syrups after events, but the real issue is with the plastics and packaging.
“It’s great that we are getting rid of plastic bags but now is the time for innovation in other industries. It’s a great opportunity for local innovation,” she said.