Flower Matter is a collection of bio-based materials made of discarded flowers. Aiming to cut down flower waste generated from the cut flower industry, each and every part of unwanted flowers are turned into environmentally responsible materials such as paper, bio-(floral) foam and textile material.
While flowers are beautiful, they have an incredibly short lifetime. Millions of flowers are planted, selected, cut, and transported across the world daily, ready to become precious gifts for loved ones or exquisite decorations before ending their long journey in landfills.
Various sources say 40% is the percentage of flowers grown commercially that are thrown away before they reach consumers’ hands. As a case study, in Bangkok, Thailand, where the excessive use of flowers is rooted deeply into the way of life, lies Pak Klong Talat, a flower market with over 500 vendors that runs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The market generates roughly one cubic meter of flower waste per shop per week, or approximately over 10 tons of waste flower daily. These discarded flowers are thrown away with their packaging intact, therefore they are not considered organic waste and can only end up in landfills or being incinerated.
What if we can extend the life of these discarded flowers?
Flower Matter is an ongoing research of ways to sustainably valorise flower waste. The project aims to provide a solution to cut this waste stream by turning flower waste into environmentally responsible materials. By integrating material production into the industry, we can divert flower waste from landfills, direct recyclable wastes that come with flowers into their proper recycling processes, offer alternatives for unsustainable materials and enable circularity in the industry.
As flowers are essentially plants, stems and leaves yield fibre. Petals contain less fibre but are vibrant in colour can be made into pigments. These two bases can then be made into limitless bio-based materials.
Three materials as listed below are chosen to present at the Dutch Design Week 2021.
- Flower Paper: made of 100% pulp from various flower stems and leaves (contain only flower fibre, no additives)
- Bio-(floral) Foam: made of 100% fibre from flower stem (mainly carnation and iris). The material aims to simulate and act as an alternative for floral foam. (water absorbent, ability to hold flowers, biodegradable, no oil-based ingredient or additive, 100% flower: microplastic-free)
- Flaux: is a nonwoven-textile/ flexible sheet/ leather-like material. Contain flower petals (mainly rose and carnation) as the main ingredient and colour agent for the material (no artificial colourant, no oil-based ingredient or additive, all-natural: microplastic-free)
About Irene Purasachit
Now focusing on bio-based/natural material experimental concerning environmental and sustainable aspects.