Cupid will soon be firing his bow on us again.
According to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey, the top three gifts people will buy for their loved ones are chocolates, jewellery or flowers.
While these can be lovely to receive, their impact on the environment can be devastating. Chocolates often come with plastic moulding that can’t be recycled, high street jewellery can include dubious mining practises and flowers can clock up some serious airmiles.
So what’s a romantic Zero Waster to do?
Here are six ideas:
Do you know what I love most about my Birthday? Its the (handmade) cards I receive from my daughter and husband. They spend time really thinking about what to write and never fail to move me to tears. It’s almost become a family joke that they hand me a card, along with a handkerchief! Putting pen to paper to express what’s in your heart couldn’t be a simpler or more unique gift. And it’s something that will be sure to last – I hoard my cards and read them if I’m having a difficult day to remind me how much I’m loved.
With eco tourism now in the mainstream, it’s easy to book a weekend away without clocking up too many emissions. You could travel by train, stay in an eco lodge and even holiday somewhere close to home that you’ve never explored before. This is all about quality time together, so it really doesn’t matter where you are staying, as long as you’re with each other. And if you have a shared passion – perhaps protecting wildlife, marine animals or culture, you can combine your holiday with giving something back to the community you stay in.
Does your partner love the theatre, music concerts or have an air balloon flight on their bucket list? Giving an experience, rather than a physical item, is one of the least likely things to create landfill waste! Of course some events and experiences generate more waste than others once you get there, but choose wisely and don’t be afraid to call the organisers and ask those awkward questions about their waste policies. Check whether they offer discounts for you taking your own reusables, have a strong zero waste policy or do other things to prevent excess waste.
Over on the Roses Only blog I read a Valentine’s Day article packed full of ideas, once of which included giving candles. I’d never thought of candles before and realised what a lovely idea this is. You can buy plant based candles with natural essential oils to reduce your impact on the environment. Or you can even make your own. There’s something quite magical about being together in flickering candlelight – get those candles lit and enjoy a peaceful evening together.
This is another of my favourite gifts to receive! Give each other an IOU – make it naughty or nice, but make it landfill free. My beautiful husband promised me a massage for Christmas which was one of the best gifts ever. I frequently get tension in my neck and shoulders from using a computer, so this gift certainly spoke to my heart as it was exactly what I needed to feel cared for. It also meant we spent some much-needed quality time together – away from screens, commitments and family demands!
After all my waxing lyrical about massages and hand written cards, when it comes to Valentine’s Day I have to admit to doing nothing at all. My husband and I agreed early on that we don’t need some arbitrary date (sponsored by Hallmark no doubt) to say “I love you”. Every day provides an opportunity for that, right? So, if you dare, just say no to the consumerism safe in the knowledge that you’re loved already – the environment will thank you for it 😉
How about you? I’d love to hear your best zero waste Valentine’s Day ideas