Upcycling at the Chelsea Flower Show

A quick update to let you know that Thinking Flowers? Will be visiting both the Chelsea Fringe and the Chelsea Flower Show this week! We’re very excited to have won tickets from Wild Card PR to attend the Chelsea Flower show, and the Thinking Flowers? team will be having champagne with Arne Maynard in the Laurent-Perrier Bicentennial garden. You can follow the garden on twitter at LPGardenCFS.

You might be wondering what happens to all the waste after the Chelsea Flower Show. How ethical and environmental can a huge flower show like this really be? Actually, very!

Recycling begins in the show’s own back yard, literally. During build-up to the show materials surplus to requirement are put in the “materials swap shop” for any exhibitor to use. Tools broken or no longer needed on site are sent to Tools Shed, The Conservation Foundation’s tools for schools recycling project run in association with HM Prisons. Once the show closes members of the London Community Resource Network swoop in and remove timber, compost, woodchip, bricks and a mass of garden material which they then pass on to community groups across London. Entire gardens have been created out of this unwanted material, most notably the Desmond Tutu Peace garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw and opened in Grove Park, Lewisham in July 2009. What’s left – hardcore and aggregate, soil and catering waste – is taken away by Powerday, a massive waste and recycling outfit based in North London, that boasts a 100% recovery rate (no landfill). Most of this is recycled with the remainder recovered as ‘ready to use’ fuel to generate energy from waste. Wood is shredded and sent to a heating and power plant, soil is reclaimed for land restoration projects and concrete crushed and reused in building projects. Last year 95% of all waste from the Chelsea Flower Show was recycled. In the last three years there has been a 24% reduction in waste produced at the show while energy from waste treatment decreased from 160 tonnes in 2008/9 to 1.85 tonnes in 2010.

(You can read the rest of this article at the Saga website, here.)

Thinking Flowers? are members of the London Community Resource Network, and Lauren shared her dream of creating an up-cycling scheme for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as part of her dissertation, with her then-mentor and Chief Executive of LCRN.

Are you planning to go to the Chelsea Fringe, or the Chelsea Flower Show? The Fringe festival is continuing until the 10th of June, so you’ve got plenty of time to go and see some of the displays, installations, exhibitions, edible high streets on offer. There are events happening all over town, so you’ve got no excuse for missing out!

We’ll be back on Thursday with photos from our adventures, but you can follow us for some live tweeting action @thinkingflowers!

And in the meantime, you can watch this beautiful sneak-peak video of the creation of the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden.

There’s also a beautiful sneak peek video below of the Laurent-Perrier garden.