The Toxic Truth: Why You Should Have Floral Foam-Free Wedding Flowers

The Toxic Truth: Why You Should Have Floral Foam-Free Wedding Flowers

When it comes to creating beautiful wedding floral arrangements, sustainability and understanding our environmental impacts are at the core of Bituin's values. As a dedicated sustainable Melbourne wedding florist, we believe in the responsible use of materials that not only showcase creativity but also protect the environment. One of the materials we will never use in our designs is floral foam. In this blog, we aim to reveal the toxic truth behind floral foam, explaining why it should be avoided due to its detrimental impact on both human health and the planet.

The Toxicity of Floral Foam

Floral foam, also known as oasis foam, is a commonly used material in the floral industry to hold, design, and hydrate flowers in arrangements. Floral foam use had widely proliferated since its conception in the 1950s due to its convenience and affordability. However, despite its convenience, floral foam has been found to pose serious issues to people, animals, and the wider environment. Made primarily of phenolic formaldehyde, it also contains small amounts of toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde and carbon black. Although deemed non-toxic under normal conditions and use, prolonged exposure, as experienced by florists in their daily practice, can lead to respiratory issues, skin irritation, and other health problems. Recognised agencies such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have identified formaldehyde and carbon black as having cancer-causing potential (American Cancer Society, 2023).

We recognise that the toxic chemicals present in floral foam are in minimal amounts and are considered non-toxic when used within specified guidelines. However, at Bituin, we prioritise the health and safety of not only our clients but also our dedicated staff. As a result, we are committed to eliminating the exposure of our florists to floral foam in our daily practices. This decision is rooted in our unwavering dedication to providing a work environment that upholds the high standards of occupational safety and well-being for our team.


Harmful Environmental Impact

Floral foam’s greatest negative impact is its effect on environmental pollution. Apart from being harmful to human health, floral foam also contributes to environmental pollution. Floral foam is a single-use plastic, and like other plastics, it takes thousands of years to break down. Floral foam degrades into microplastics. These microplastics are extremely problematic because even if they are disposed of correctly (in landfill and general waste), microplastics can easily leach out into the environment. Its greatest impact is when it reaches oceans, posing a significant threat to marine life and ecosystems. The persistent presence of floral foam in the environment raises concerns due to the vast amounts discarded after events or flower deliveries, resulting in a substantial accumulation of plastic waste.

Research by Ebaid, Wang, Faisal, Li, and Abomohra (2023) discusses that phenolic resins, commonly used in the production of floral foam, contribute to the generation of phenol-formaldehyde microplastics. These microplastics pose environmental risks when floral foam is disposed of in landfills, leading to leachate that contains toxic microplastics.

In a study conducted by Trestrail et al. (2020) on the impacts of the ingestion of floral foam microplastics by aquatic animals, it was demonstrated that floral foam produces microplastics within a size range consumed by various invertebrates in both freshwater and marine environments. The study highlighted the harmful impact of floral foam microplastics due to their high toxicity and mobility in the environment.

Sustainable Alternatives to Floral Foam

At Bituin, we are committed to providing sustainable and eco-friendly wedding floral designs to our clients across Melbourne. Instead of using floral foam, we use alternative methods to create long-lasting arrangements that are kind to both people and the planet. Examples of alternatives include:

  • Water Tubes and Vases: Water tubes and vases provide hydration to flowers without the need for floral foam. They can be easily reused and are much more environmentally friendly. While we do acknowledge that these items are made of plastic, we ensure that we reuse these time and time again.
  • Chicken Wire: These materials provide structure and support to arrangements without the harmful chemicals found in floral foam. They can be recycled after use, often being able to be reused indefinitely for other events.
  • Kenzan / Floral Frogs: Inspired by the Japanese Ikebana tradition, these mechanics offer a plastic-free approach to flower design. Reusable and of high quality, they enable the creation of awe-inspiring and contemporary arrangements without compromising on environmental responsibility.
  • Natural materials: The limit is our creativity and there are heaps of natural materials we can use as mechanics to store floral foam. For example, we can use sticks balled up or arranged in a grid, we can then add small stones for further stability. We can also use moss wrapped up together.
  • Innovations in the floristry mechanics: Many companies are also coming up with ways to innovate on floral foam. Products like Oschun Pouch and Agrawool are innovative alternatives to floral foam that have a similar way of being used, while being composed of nontoxic and plastic free material that safely biodegrade in the environment.

Bituin's Eco-Friendly, Floral Foam Free Approach

As a sustainably focused florist in Melbourne, we take pride in our commitment to reducing plastic waste and harmful chemicals in the events, wedding and floral industry. Our passion for sustainability is evident in our choice of materials and design techniques, ensuring that every wedding floral arrangement is not only stunning but also free from harmful substances.

When planning your wedding, no matter which Melbourne wedding florist you go with, we urge you to ask whether they use floral foam – and if they do, that you opt out of having the material at your event. We promise with a bit of ingenuity, we can create beautiful designs while being planet-friendly – you can look at our Instagram to see our creations – we absolutely guarantee that not one of these flower arrangements uses floral foam.

Floral foam may offer convenience in holding and hydrating flowers, but its toxic composition and single-use micro-plastic nature poses significant risks to both human health and the environment. As a responsible and sustainable wedding florist in Melbourne, Bituin is dedicated to providing considered floral designs that prioritise the well-being of our couples and staff as well as the planet. By choosing alternatives to floral foam, we can still create breathtaking wedding floral arrangements while treading lightly on the Earth, leaving behind memories of love and beauty without a harmful footprint.

Enquire now about your wedding and how we can help to make it an unforgettable and sustainable experience.


Ebaid, R., Wang, Q., Faisal, S., Li, L., & Abomohra, A. (2023). Valorization of floral foam waste via pyrolysis optimization for enhanced phenols recovery. Chemosphere, 310, 136758. doi:

Trestrail, C., Walpitagama, M., Hedges, C., Truskewycz, A., Miranda, A., Wlodkowic, D., Nugegoda, D. (2020). Foaming at the mouth: Ingestion of floral foam microplastics by aquatic animals. Science of The Total Environment, 705, 135826. doi:

American Cancer Socicety (2023). Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. American Cancer Socicety.

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