If you've seen the Evolve video you will know our founder Helen is a bit of an old hippy! Born in the flower power era to parents who constantly re-used, recycled and repaired as well as having a large garden, kept chickens, baked bread from scratch and grew vegetables; this foundation shaped her life and was probably why in her teenage year was nicknamed Hipz or Hippy Helen.
How it started...
"During early childhood I remember my parents taking me to a huge tumbledown commune, I'm not sure if it was out of curiosity or if they were thinking of joining the clan of free-spirits there! Me and my brother amused ourselves in the vegetable garden and shelled peas while Mum & Dad went indoors. After some time they appeared; apparently the commune leader was rather disappointed that my father was an electronics engineer as they really needed someone who could assist with the plumbing in this wreck of a building that had a few waterworks challenges!
My father was always fixing things; normally with Araldite or superglue. He had two VW Beetles on the driveway at one point - of course one was on ramps for spare parts and made a great den for playing in!"
A few decades later at Evolve Flowers and Helen is encouraging behaviour changes to her wholesale and retail florist customers by taking the packaging waste out of the products at source.
The British grown flowers are delivered or collected from growers either unwrapped or wrapped in paper which avoids the waste of sleeves or packaging as the products are processed. The products are then wrapped in bundles ready for packing in boxes to transport to florists or consumers.
Evolve Team member packs Growers choice mixed boxes which utilise small volume products and provide florists with a variety of British grown flowers.
We are always looking for alternative solutions for packaging and came across some old produce boxes from a tomato grower so we used them for seasonal products. We send pine cones out in potato sacks to avoid using plastic. There are three recycling bins in the office for recycling paper and cans, this has helped reduce the amount of 'black bag' waste we generate by almost 50%
Then we replicated the bins in the pack house to enable sorting in the large pallet bins outside - it takes several months to fill these huge bins. One for cellophane, one for soft plastic and another for broken plastic buckets. Cardboard tends to accumulate slightly faster however it still takes several weeks until we have enough for the recycling company to collect. The company is local and collects from many of the other large and small businesses that deal with packaging, and as a bonus the lovely company owners also support Evolve and have become regular customers too!