Cupid is firing up his bow, ready to bestow love upon the Earth.
And we should be doing the same. Bestowing love upon the earth, that is.
Every Valentine’s Day we spend money on cards, helium balloons, flowers, stuffed animals and chocolates. And whilst they might provide an instant hit, their lasting legacy to the environment can be a mean one.
I always say that a Zero Waste lifestyle is NOT about deprivation. It’s simply about finding alternatives to the once-use disposables that end up in landfill or harm the environment in their creation / disposal.
Without further ado, let’s look at some Zero Waste Valentine’s Day solutions.
This is our preferred option here at Zero Waste Towers! And after 20 years of wedded bliss, I can tell you, I don’t need a date in the diary – dreamt up by a card company most likely – to dictate when I do and don’t display love to my husband. EVERY day is an excuse to say I love you, right?
So if you’re secure in your relationship and don’t need trinkets to feel loved, then why not cross Feb 14th out of your ‘must buy a card and present’ list and get on with your day!
Now if that all feels a bit bah humbug and you love lavishing your care and attention on your loved ones, who am I to stand in your way? Here are some more ‘traditional’ ideas:
I’ve spoken before about the value of giving experiences as gifts. And Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to spend quality time together. You could book an away day at a spa for some much-deserved pampering, share tickets to a favourite restaurant (remember your doggy bag so there are no leftovers and say no to straws in your cocktails!), go to the cinema or camp and stargaze for the night. Generally it is activities and not ‘things’ that create lasting memories. For something really unusual, why not sign up to our Waste Warriors Online Course? You’ll go on a journey of discovery together and be working towards the common goal of slimming your bin for good!
Deliver a singing card
Instead of a glittery card that can’t be recycled, why not actually SAY what you want to write to your loved one? Can you imagine anything more romantic than a poem that has been written for you, delivered in the spoken word? If you fancy yourself as a bit of a pop star, write a song and perform it! And if you are too love-struck to get the words out, then find a tree-free card or make your own from repurposed materials.
Zero Waste chocolates
Chocolates are still top of the list for Valentine’s Day gift giving , but many brands use copious amounts of plastic moulding that ends up in landfill. Spend time researching different brands -some of them have come up with great solutions by creating products which will only leave you with crumbs! Look for cardboard packaging and real cellophane which can be composted. I encourage people to go to the deli counter with their own reusable container and I’m challenging you to go to a chocolate counter and see if you can purchase sans packaging – I’d love to hear how you get on! If all else fails, get in the kitchen together and rustle up some simple truffles or home made chocolates – you get to lick the bowl together too 😉
I do LOVE receiving fresh flowers, but when I learned about the air miles, pesticides and dubious practises that go on in the floral industry, I put a stop to them. If you’re lucky enough to be able to find local, seasonal flowers, wrapped in real, compostable cellophane, then go ahead and indulge – they do make a beautiful gift. But for something that lasts, why not plant a rose tree together or even a herb garden or fruit tree which will provide you with food for years to come? Apparently the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, so an edible plant seems ideal!
All that glitters is not always terribly good for the environment. If you’re buying jewellery, then ask questions about the mining practises and effects on the environment. If you get met with blank looks or unconvincing answers, source a vintage piece from an antique shop or auction house. If that piece is old enough, it will be pre-date any conflict diamond issues and by wearing vintage jewellery, you’re wearing a piece of history to which you can add your own story.
What about you – how do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?