Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is a retailers and manufacturers dream come true because the holiday, like many others, is all about consumerism. In fact, ABC reported that in 2018, spending in the U.S. was expected to reach a whopping $19.6 billion! That number will likely be similar or worse for 2019. Not only is the dollar value shocking but think about the amount of waste that adds up to between the packaging, flowers, cards, decorations, etc. It's not exactly a pretty thought for the day of love.
The good news is, you don't have to avoid the holiday to avoid the waste. There are tons of ways to show the special ones in your life you love them while also showing love for the planet too!
Here's are 5 Ways To Reduce Waste This Valentine's Day:
1) Give the gift of time together instead of material things
When it comes to the day of love, what everyone really wants is to connect with the people they care most about. Gifts and cards are nice, but most people just want to be shown that someone cares about them.
Here are some ideas:
- Make them their favorite meal
- Go skating
- Have a movie fest watching your favorite love stories
- Recreate your first date
- Visit a spa
- Play games
Note: No matter what you do, agree to unplug for the day to make it more special and intimate.
2) Make your own up-cycled packaging for candy bought in bulk or homemade goodies
Buying in bulk or making homemade candies is a great way to reduce wasteful packaging and there are tons of creative ideas on Pinterest to use found items to make your own homemade packages.
Old mason jars with a bit of ribbon and a tag made from an old card or even seed paper will make your Valentine’s Day candy deliveries look extra special without creating any excess waste. You can even make these cute love birds out of toilet paper rolls and some construction paper.
3) Write a letter instead of giving a card
According to CNN, approximately 144 million cards are exchanged on Valentine's Day in the US alone. Most of them will sadly be made with virgin papers that have been bleached and coated with glosses, metallics, and who knows what else. To help reduce this massive waste stream, write a letter using your own words to show you care. Not good with words? That’s ok, you can find a poem online and write it out for them, or simply list 10 things you love about them. The effort, thought, and time you took to find the right words will be mean more to them than any Hallmark card ever could.
4) Give a plant instead of flowers or seeds they can plant
Sure everyone loves getting pretty flowers, but the sad fact is, they usually die within a week or two at best. They also come packaged in cellophane and several other materials when delivered and are often imported from other countries.
Indoor potted plants are a great alternative because they last way longer and have a wide range of health benefits such as helping to improve the mental health, immune systems, and the air quality of your home (SOURCE: ecowatch.com). Not to mention how beautiful greenery looks in the home or office! Another idea is to give them a gift they can plant, nurture, and watch grow, such as something made with seed paper—a biodegradable paper made from recycled material that is embedded with wildflower seeds.
5) Choose reusable or biodegradable decorations
If you’re decorating for the occasion, avoid balloons and other plastic store-bought items that will end up in a landfill just weeks after you bought them. Look for things that can be used for other occasions or are completely biodegradable such as Plantable & Eco-friendly Party Banner Bunting or Seed Confetti for table tops.