11 Sustainable Valentine’s Day Ideas
Valentine’s Day is coming up and I can’t help but think about all the waste that comes with it. When we think of Valentine’s Day our thoughts go straight to hearts, glitter, flowers and balloons. Unfortunately, these things aren’t particularly sustainable and can be extremely damaging to the environment.
This one day produces an extra amount of unnecessary CO2. An article by Plastic Oceans written in 2021 reports that Valentine’s Day contributes a massive 9 million kilograms of CO2 on top of what we usually produce!
Single use items. A lot of the gifts and decorations that are bought for Valentine’s Day are single use items or they become single use by not being wanted after the 14th and thus end up in landfill.
Cut flowers are more damaging than we think. The production of cut flowers can be extremely polluting. Unseasonal flowers are grown in controlled conditions in order for them to grow which means more energy usage and pesticides. They are also mostly grown in their country of origin and need to be imported.
Balloons can take hundreds of years to degrade. Even balloons advertised as 100% latex and biodegradable. This is actually just green washing and shouldn’t be taken as sustainable. Here’s an interesting study done in 2020 on ‘biodegradable’ 100% latex balloons.
Glitter is a microplastic. All the glitter ever made is still in the environment! NONE of it has degraded. It is a tiny plastic that ends up in our oceans, water systems, soil and air. Because of this marine life mistake it for food and it is thought that every human consumes a credit cards worth of plastic every week! Read more about glitter and it’s environmental impact.
How to Make Valentine’s Day More Eco
What drives all the waste is not being prepared, trying to buy presents and decorations in the last minute and the convenience of being able to buy whatever we like readily available in the shops.
This usually means that we end up buying something that the recipient doesn’t necessarily want, something that is only used on Valentine’s Day and things that come wrapped in or containing plastic.
The answer is to slow down, plan, make conscious decisions and take responsibility for our actions. We live our lives in such a rushed state and we don’t give ourselves time to really think about things anymore but this is the key.
It all comes back to slow living, really taking everything in, being mindful about our actions, really thinking about what the other person would like or how we could decorate without glitter or balloons and taking the time to do/make/find these things responsibly.
Here are some ideas on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day more sustainably this year.
11 Sustainable Valentine’s Day Ideas
1. Choose the gift of time.
This is a particularly great idea if time has run away with you and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Choose something you like to do together or that your partner really enjoys and spend time together instead of buying a gift. It can be anything; go on a hike, an adventure or sign up for a workshop together.
2. Opt for a plant in a pot.
If you usually gift your partner flowers on Valentine’s Day then swap this for a local growing plant in a pot instead. This will last a lot longer and mean more for longer than cut flowers that only last a few days.
3. Crochet your own flowers.
If you really want flowers, what about crocheting your own? Here is a great rose crochet pattern that I really love. They will last a lot longer than cut flowers and you can keep them around after Valentine’s Day too.
You can make them whatever colour you like and make a multiple to create a bouquet. Choose a plant based yarn to make them with like hemp, linen or organic cotton so that they will eventually degrade.
4. Make a gift.
Do you craft? Why not make your partner or friend a gift instead of buying one? It can be anything you know how to do and you know that your partner will appreciate. A drawing/painting, a collection of songs, a crocheted/knitted item, their favourite cake or biscuits; the list is endless.
5. Avoid glitter.
As we’ve discovered above, glitter is extremely damaging to our environment. Try to avoid it if you intend to buy gifts. They can be found in almost anything; think about small decorations, wrapping paper and cards.
6. Make your own card.
Reuse paper or card that you already have at home to make your own Valentine’s Day card. Homemade cards are much more appreciated than store bought ones as the recipient knows you’ve spent time to make it especially for them.
7. Support your local hand makers.
If you want to buy a gift but don’t want to support a damaging industry that makes mass produced gifts then a really great option is to find your local hand makers and support them. A really lovely thing about hand makers is that you can actually speak to the person making your item to ask them questions and possibly request that your item isn’t wrapped in plastic.
8. Say no to balloons.
Balloons seem harmless but they cause a great amount of damage to the environment as we spoke about above. Please choose to eliminate these from your celebrations.
9. Crochet your own tiny flowers.
Do you usually scatter petals around the house or decorate with a Valentine’s themed garland? This tiny flower garland crochet pattern is perfect for this.
You can just use the tiny flowers for scattering instead of real petals or create the whole garland for decoration that can be used year after year and even when it’s not Valentine’s.
10. Choose soy wax candles.
Set the mood with soy wax candles from a local maker instead of beeswax or paraffin. Your local maker will really appreciate the support and you can be happy knowing you’ve made a more sustainable choice.
There is a debate about whether soy wax is environmentally friendly or not but out of the options we have available it is the most sustainable of the three most commonly used ingredients. Read more here about soy wax candles and how they compare to beeswax and paraffin.
11. Home cook a meal or support small local restaurant.
Cook your partner their favourite meal at home instead of getting a take away. Take aways usually come with plastic containers that tend to be non recyclable or biodegradable.
Be cautious of take aways that come in containers marked as eco friendly and compostable. It usually only means industrially compostable which isn’t currently an option in a lot of places.
If neither of you want to cook then seek out your small local restaurant or cafe that makes home cooked food instead of large scale meals. They will really appreciate your custom and make you a lovely memorable meal.
I really hope you found these sustainable Valentine’s Day ideas helpful. If you have any other suggestions please pop them in the comments so we can all learn to be better for our environment and wildlife.