Every February 14, couples around the country show each other the love. While all this love is great, the traditional Valentine’s Day trappings aren’t all that environmentally friendly. So, what’s a green guy or gal to do? Check out some alternatives to the Valentine’s Day big four:
Not to sound cynical when speaking about love, but a card can really be a waste of paper. Sure, the thought is nice, but how many people actually keep the cards once the calendar flips to March? Instead of buying a $5 card with bows, foil and plastic bits that can’t be recycled, you could make a card instead. Search YouTube or Pinterest (there are tons of examples), or check out this video by StudioBAS for ideas and instructions:
Or you can get really crazy and not give a card. Remember, it’s the thought that counts, so share your thoughts in a voicemail message or text a voice recording that your significant other can save. If you’re really romantic (and not easily embarrassed), recite a love poem or write your own.
Who doesn’t like candy? Giving it to your sweetie for Valentine’s Day is a tradition and it’s delicious. The problem isn’t the candy itself (although it might not be great for the waistline), but all that packaging. You’ve seen them—those big, flashy, foil boxes with huge bows and baubles attached, not to mention the piles of wrappers. None of them can be recycled, so you end up tossing the lot.
But that doesn’t mean no sweet treats. Instead of giving a huge box of candy, bake some brownies, cookies or cupcakes for a Valentine’s treat. You can package them in a red reusable plastic dish or clean up and repurpose an old tin (see how here: https://diycandy.com/recycled-chalkboard-valentine-tin/).
No one would dispute that flowers are beautiful, but they can also be expensive and short-lived. Instead of giving your love flowers that will eventually drop wilted petals all over the counter before they’re finally tossed, try giving something a little more sustainable. A potted plant will (should) last until next Valentine’s Day. Flower seed packets are also a good choice, particularly in February when you’re starting to look forward to spring.
And of course, if you deliver these items yourself, you not only save yourself the delivery charge, you also save some mileage for the delivery van.
Getting presents is great, but it also means you’re generating more stuff you may or may not use (and will eventually want to throw away or recycle). Instead, inject some elbow grease and sustainability into your present by making one yourself (https://www.upcycled-wonders.com/art/handmade-valentines-day-gift-ideas). If being crafty isn’t really your thing, create an experience for your loved one with tickets to an event or a spa day. Or go back to the old childhood standby with a cheesy coupon book, but make sure you use coupon ideas your significant other will really appreciate (a late night run to the store for a special treat he or she is craving, a day with the house entirely to himself/herself, one free “let it go” coupon, participating for an hour in his or her favorite hobby). Once a coupon has been redeemed, toss it in the recycling bin or attempt to repurpose it for next year’s Valentine’s Day craft.