5 Ways of Being Resourceful with Left Over Packaging

In this 5 minute read, I explain what can be done with the packaging and leftovers from one of my sweet bouquets once the edibles have gone! I’ve been a keen recycler, reuse warrior and waste reducer since I was a pre-teen. Here’s 5 ways to resourcefully repurpose what you can’t eat to avoid increasing landfill waste.
25th May 2023 – Leanne Nuttall
Image of a sweet bouquet which has been nearly all eaten

1. Recycle the confectionery wrappers

We are fortunate here in Milton Keynes to have a local volunteer who set up Charity Recycling MK with the aim of reducing the amount of domestic plastics sent to landfill by instead reusing it (thanks to sponsorship) raising money for charity under various schemes – mainly TerraCycle UK (he is an approved drop-off point administrator). This includes amongst other plastics; wrappers of chocolate bars, sweets, biscuits, cake bars, crisps and other savoury snacks. Check out the incredible work Charity Recycling MK has done so far since 2013 via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/recyclemk.

If you are local to Milton Keynes and want to join in reducing soft plastic waste, Charity Recycling MK ask that you group together the packaging types as they get sent off to different schemes. Here in our house we have separate baskets for chocolates & sweets, then crisps, and finally the biscuits & cake bars.

Alternatively some supermarkets in the UK are joining the sustainability train and now have collection bins for soft plastics. The stores specifically accepting confectionery and savoury snack packaging are Aldi, Co-op, and Tesco. ASDA, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose also have soft plastic collection points but not in all stores and not all accept all types of soft plastics.

For our home anything else that isn’t accepted by Charity Recycling MK gets collected together in an empty plastic bread bag and taken to one of the supermarket collection bins on a regular basis. It is such a rewarding feeling knowing we are helping our environment and also raising money for local charities in the process!

2. Reusing the wooden skewers

I have found a number of reuses for the wooden skewers.

One is obviously using them for BBQs and roasting marshmallows. To make them suitable for use with food I would recommend cutting off the end which has had the hot glue used to attach the confectionery and ensure if they are being used to cook with on a BBQ, to soak them in water for a little while as to not catch fire.

Another use is for wooden crafting and design, my daughter used a number of them to make a fairy door for her outdoor fairy house once.

The third is to use them for cleaning those tight hard to reach areas of the home, such as around the hob or in the recesses of a UPVC window frame.

As the skewers used are wooden they are biodegradable so can either been popped in the green garden waste bins or general waste bins, but in our house we use them as kindling for our fire pits from spring all the way through to autumn (making sure we remove the section with any glue on, which we then dispose of in general waste).

3. Is dry floral oasis recyclable?

Dry floral oasis is not recyclable unfortunately. It is made from polyurethane which is a chemically processed plastic and breaks down into micro plastics. On a positive note it is strong and has a long life span so can be reused.

The alternative, and one which some of my competitors use, is polystyrene. I deliberated for some time whether to use this option for my bouquets. In the end, I chose not to go with this option as I felt the reuse capability for further projects and craft was less than the denser more durable dry floral foam. Polystyrene actually costs more than dry foam. If the UK had more facilities for recycling polystyrene then I would have 100% chosen this option despite the higher costs.

I am constantly looking at ways of making my products much more eco-friendly with low environmental impact and recently discovered that the Oasis brand of floral products now have a couple of eco-products such as Fibrefloral that could work as an alternative to dry floral foam moving forwards. Whilst a little more costly, their impact on planet earth is much lower. Follow Bloomin’ Sweet Delights on social media to keep up with the latest information as I will be purchasing a block or two to test out in the near future.

4. Repurposing the ‘living vase’ box

As the bouquet boxes are made from vibrant coloured cardboard, there are so many reuse possibilities. Alongside from using them as an actual vase for dried or silk flower arrangements and plants, they make great storage pots for felt tip pens, colouring pencils and paint brushes.

They are also recyclable and cardboard is one of the most efficient materials that can be recycled in comparison to what raw resources are needed to make it from scratch.

5. A new life for the tissue paper, handmade bow and cellophane wrapper

I like to give gifts. I also like wrapping gifts. I especially like wrapping gifts that look too good to open!

My preferred reuse option for the tissue paper, cellophane wrapper and handmade bow from a chocolate bouquet is for wrapping a gift. I like to wrap the gift in the tissue paper, surround that with the cellophane and then add the big puffy bow! Sometimes I’ve even added confetti shapes before I’ve cellophane wrapped the gift which looks super awesome as the pieces of confetti move around as you are carrying the gift.

You can of course use the tissue paper and the cellophane for packaging or other craft purposes. Both of which can also be easily recycled if you really are not in a position to repurpose them.

The handmade bow and ribbon are made from a recyclable material, polypropylene. However most household recycling schemes will not want them as they can get tangled up in the machinery, potentially cause malfunctions and halt the processing line. Instead you can pop them in with your soft plastics for recycling at the supermarkets (see point #1 above).

Collage of images of gift wrapping a book using tissue paper, cellophane and polypropylene handmade bow

I hope these 5 ways have been useful in promoting recycling, reuse and repurposing leftover packaging.

Can you think of any other eco-friendly resourceful things to do with the leftover packaging from our confectionery gifts? Let us know what they are by leaving a comment or start a conversation on our social media pages – we would love to hear from you!

How can Bloomin’ Sweet Delights help you celebrate?

We create a variety of confectionery gifts suitable for that special person, occasion or celebration in your life including:

* Valentines * New Home * Easter

* Baby Showers * Christmas * Birthday

* Christenings *Children’s Parties

* Mothers & Fathers Day * Anniversary

* Graduation Good Luck *Hen / Stag

* Thank You * Wedding Congratulation

We can cater for specific taste buds – Sweet, Savoury, Dark Chocolate, Mint, Orange…Or those with special dietary needs such as Nut Allergy, Coeliac or Gluten Free. We have regularly made bouquets to suit vegetarian, dairy-free and Halal diets!

Whether it’s a bouquet, sweet cone, chocolate centre fabric flower, filled mugs or sweet jar, we have gifts as unique as the person they are being created for.

The confectionery won’t last long, but the feelings from the gesture will!

What Can I Do For You?

If you would like to see more of what I make, head over to the Bloomin’ Sweet Delight Instagram or Facebook profiles and be sure to follow & like for all the latest updates, offers and sweet delights! If you are local to the area and would like to know more about placing an order follow this link to the How to order pages on the website…