Like a lot of special days in the calendar, Valentine’s Day can be an eco-nightmare. With cards, food and plastic wrapping, you may be looking for ways to show someone you love them whilst also loving the planet.
Read through our top 7 tips to make sure you have a more sustainable Valentine’s Day:
In 2016, Greeting Card Association reported that UK shoppers bought 18.7 million Valentine’s cards. Most of these are still wrapped in single use plastic and some are not able to be recycled, which can mean that millions of cards are going straight to landfill every Valentine’s.
To help counter this waste you could do these activities:
- Why not consider making your own or sending an e-card?
- Make an eco-choice. Some card companies have stopped packaging their cards in plastic so opt for one of these. Also make sure your card does not have glitter, pop-ups or plastic inserts inside
- Keep your cards and make a pledge with your partner to look back through them and have lovely memories every year
- Check for cards made from recycled or compostable components
Cut flowers can be an eco-disaster. With some exotic stems (including roses) being flown in from as far away as Australia, flowers can have a huge carbon footprint. Although super romantic and thoughtful, having a bouquet of flowers delivered can be impactful on the environment.
If you really want some flowers for Valentine’s, the following could help:
- Go to a local nursery where they grow and cut the flowers there, so you cut down on travel
- Gift some rose seeds or a rose bush for your loved one to plant
- When buying flowers, check what country they were flown in from. If the distance is too far, change your choice or ask a florist for UK grown flowers
- Make a bouquet from wild flowers that you find on a country side walk, just make sure you can pick them, and they are not protected
Most of the shops have Valentine’s products that are easy to pick up and are cheap. From heart shaped confetti, to foil covered chocolate roses, it can be easy to grab and buy but not think about the impact of mass-produced products.
Pause before you buy and think about the following:
- A lot of these gifts are covered in plastic, put in non-recyclable packaging and are single use. Cut down on waste and do not buy products that your loved one will not use again
- Use your buying power and purchase a product that is ethical, cruelty free and in recyclable packing. Our eco-conscious health & beauty range is a great place to start
- Save money and don’t create rubbish by making something like a playlist of songs that remind you of that person, or a scrap book made of memories
Valentine’s can be one of the busiest nights in restaurants and gastro pubs, but this can mean they end up having more food waste which won’t be composted properly.
Think of these points before you book a table:
- Book in an eatery that has an eco-focus. Zero-waste restaurants are popping up all over the UK, or pick somewhere that does compost its food waste
- Find a local restaurant that focuses on organic food as this produces a smaller carbon footprint
- Go to a local, independent eatery. Chances are the meals will have travelled less distance as a lot of independent restaurants and pubs use local farmers for their produce. This can also mean you’re keeping the local economy afloat
Gift wrap can be non-recyclable and can take a long time to break down.
Here are some ideas to cut down on gift wrap waste:
- Wrap presents in charity shop headscarves, tea towels and even tops. This will cut down on waste and help a charity, too
- Use gift wrap that can be composted or recycled easily. The ‘scrunch test’ is best for this, if your gift wrap holds its shape after being scrunched up, you can recycle it. If it springs back, it will end up in landfill
- Put gifts in a tote bag that your loved one can use again
Wine & Chocolates
As with flowers, wine and chocolates can be ferried in from faraway lands that can end up creating a rather large carbon output. Also, chocolate boxes often come in plastic trays that whilst may be recyclable, are not eco-friendly.
Avoid doing harm but still have your treats:
- Purchase a bar of Fairtrade and ethical chocolate instead of a selection box. Most of these come in paper packaging so are also recyclable
- Buy organic wine, it is now easier than ever to source this as many supermarkets stock it
- Even better, find some UK made wine or chocolate and cut down on travel emissions
A great way of saving money and not using petrol is to have your Valentine’s celebrations in the comfort of your own home.
Here are some great ideas for date/cosy nights in with whoever you spend Valentine’s with (all ideas are child friendly, too):
- Classic film and popcorn night. Put ideas into a hat and pick one at random so it’s fair on everyone!
- Make a den and read a page of a book each, include funny voices for children
- Have a ‘Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook’ night in. If you remember the show, you will know how this works. Pop to the shops (preferably on foot to cut down petrol use) and have everyone pick three or four ingredients, bring it all home and create a three-course meal together from the different elements
Explore our range of sustainable gifts, homeware and garden items at Original Organics