Sideau® Blocks Present a Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Alternative for Floristry

A material perfectly suited for florists and flower arrangers who want to use a fully environmentally friendly base for their creations.

By: THURSD. | 13-03-2024 | 7 min read
Floral Designs Sustainability
Sideau Floral Block

Sustainability and environmental conservation are of utmost importance in today’s world, and industries strive to achieve these ideals. It, consequently, is crucial to find options that minimize harm to the planet. Floristry, an industry sometimes associated with the use of non-natural materials, is also transforming and adopting more sustainable practices. One such innovation is the Sideau® Floral Block, a non-plastic alternative to traditional floral foam. 

These blocks are made of materials that are deemed to be environmentally friendly, and hence they contribute to the sustainability of nature and the floristry industry. The block has, practically, the same characteristics as floral foam in terms of use, but in contrast to the latter - which is made from oil derivatives and phenol resin, which is plastic - a Sideau® Floral Block is fully natural and made of Earthwool®, a natural product made from basalt, a volcanic igneous rock.


Banner Sideau


The Origins of Sideau® Blocks

Sideau® blocks are a product developed by Agra-Wool International Group, a renowned company based in the Netherlands. The company is widely known for its efforts in ensuring sustainability and a commitment to creating substrates and water-absorbing materials that are both efficient and environmentally friendly. 

For that reason, the Sideau® Floral Block is perfectly suited for florists and flower arrangers who want to use a fully sustainable environmentally friendly base for their floral designs and creations. The blocks introduced in 2018 have quickly become a leading sustainable option for florists. Sideau® is affiliated with the Barometer Duurzame Bloemist (Sustainable Florist) initiative and RHS-affiliated societies.

The product name Sideau® is derived from the first name of the owner of Agra-Wool, Sido. The material’s name consists of two sentences: Si and d'Eau, which explains one of the main features of the product; it absorbs and retains water perfectly, compared to the traditional floral foam. 


Sido Fokkema of Sideau
Sido Fokkema from Agra-Wool International


Composition and Material of This Floral Block

Unlike traditional floral foam, Sideau blocks are sustainably made from a 100% natural material called Earthwool®. Earthwool® is derived from basalt, a volcanic igneous rock. This composition sets Sideau® blocks apart, as they do not rely on oil derivatives or plastic materials that are harmful to the environment. It is, therefore, a sustainable plastic-free material suitable for floral designs and arrangements!

Sideau® is, also, noticeably softer but still very dense, has a recognizable brown color, and emits neither odor nor little dust particles. The material, also, does not irritate hands and one’s skin as they use it. For these and many other reasons, it is, therefore, considered friendly to people and the environment.

A Material With Sustainable Features

Sideau® blocks offer several sustainable features that make them an excellent choice for sustainable floristry and floral design. One of the key pluses of these blocks is their full biodegradability. When disposed of, these blocks break down naturally over time, leaving behind no harmful residues or microplastics. Also, unlike traditional floral foam, Sideau® blocks can be reused multiple times. Due to its spongy structure, it can be recycled by wrapping chicken wire around it. This significantly reduces waste and contributes to a more sustainable floral industry.


Sideau Floral Blocks
Sideau® Floral Blocks


Additionally, these blocks have excellent water absorption capabilities. They can absorb water within 15 seconds, and they continue to absorb water time and time again, allowing one to water their flower arrangements only when the flowers seem to be drying out. This quality ensures that flowers receive just the necessary hydration for extended periods.

What’s more, Sideau® blocks are suitable for various types of flower arrangements, including fresh, dried, and silk flowers. This versatility makes them a go-to choice for florists looking to create sustainable designs.

Furthermore, with Sideau®, one no longer has any waste of the product. Pieces left over after cutting the blocks into shapes can easily be torn into smaller pieces and put in a pot, vase, or wooden crate, then reused as a substitute for potting soil. Anything with a root will grow on it!

One can also deposit it on their compost heap as basalt is full of nutritious minerals and is also used to upgrade heavy clay soil. And what remains when degraded is basalt meal (sand) which is completely natural and harmless to nature.



Its Environmental Benefits

In choosing to work with Sideau® blocks, florists play a vital role in environmental conservation. They, for instance, ensure reduced plastic usage. Traditional floral foam is predominantly made from plastic materials, and in opting for Sideau® blocks, florists actively reduce their reliance on single-use plastics, helping to fight plastic pollution.

The production of Sideau® blocks utilizes vegetable raw materials, such as sugar beet or cane sugar, rather than petrochemicals. This switch to renewable resources, also, decreases the carbon footprint associated with their production.

What’s more, when Sideau® blocks are no longer suitable for floral arrangements, they can be discarded on a compost heap since they are 100% natural. Alternatively, they can be torn into smaller pieces and used as a substrate, further reducing waste and enhancing sustainable practices.

Its Positive Impact on the Floristry Industry

The adoption of Sideau® blocks in the floristry industry has brought about several positive changes. To start with, they provide floral designers with endless creative possibilities. Their ability to hold flower stems securely and absorb water efficiently allows artists to bring their imaginative designs to life.

Also, florists demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices and promote environmental awareness within their industry when using this material. This, in turn, inspires customers to make eco-conscious choices when purchasing floral arrangements.

Moreover, these blocks have continued to inspire collaborations between florists, growers, and suppliers. The shared goal of sustainability has nurtured partnerships that prioritize the use of environmentally friendly materials and techniques throughout the floristry supply chain.


sideau floral blocks


Another key advantage of Sideau® blocks is their ability to distribute water evenly throughout the arrangement. The basalt material used in the material allows for optimal water absorption and retention, ensuring that flowers stay fresh and hydrated for longer periods. This feature is particularly beneficial for floral designs that require long-lasting arrangements, such as wedding bouquets or event centerpieces.

Educating the Floristry Industry

Similarly, Agra-Wool International - the maker of the block - is actively involved in educating the floristry industry about the benefits of Sideau® blocks. Through collaborations with floral associations, workshops, and articles, the company aims to raise awareness about the environmental impact of non-natural floral foam and provide sustainable alternatives. Through spreading knowledge and promoting eco-conscious practices, the company encourages the adoption of the material and contributes to a more sustainable floral industry.

What’s more, as consumers become more environmentally conscious, there is a growing demand for sustainable products and practices in the floral market. Florists who offer arrangements made with materials like Sideau blocks can tap into this demand, attracting eco-conscious customers who prioritize sustainability. Aligning their business with environmentally friendly alternatives, therefore, guarantees that florists can differentiate themselves in the market and appeal to a wider customer base.

Also, Agra-Wool International continues to invest in research and development to further improve the material and explore other new sustainable materials for the floristry industry. And as it remains at the forefront of innovation, the company aims to provide florists with even more of these eco-friendly alternatives that meet the evolving needs of the industry and contribute to a greener future.

Even so, it is worthy to note that Sideau® blocks have steadily continued to gain recognition and significant acceptance within the floristry industry. Florists, event planners, and floral designers worldwide are embracing this eco-friendly alternative to traditional foam. 

The positive feedback from professionals who have embraced and incorporated it into their floral creations highlights its effectiveness and sustainability benefits making it a material worth using in floral arrangements and designs.



Sideau banner



Can't get enough?

Subscribe to the
newsletter, and get
bedazzled with awesome
flower & plant updates