How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine’s Day

How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day
Want to have a zero waste Valentine’s Day? It’s certainly doable! I know there’s a lot of commercialism involved with this holiday, but you certainly don’t need to go out and buy a ton of cheap items for your lover. They don’t need another plushie that’ll gather dust on the shelf. Instead, focus on creating a better experience for your sweetheart that does the planet some good too. Quality time spent together is what I recommend focusing on most – not the items you get for each other. That said, the items you do get one another should be thoughtfully purchased. Here are some ways you can make your valentine (and the earth) happy this Valentine’s Day.

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How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine’s Day

How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day

Why have a zero waste Valentine’s Day?

Holidays tend to be pretty wasteful. It’s a time of mass consumerism, and Valentine’s Day is no exception.

Most of the treats and goodies we buy our loved ones on Valentine’s Day comes from the convenience store. Likely, those items we purchase quickly are made unsustainably and mass produced.

We need to step back and evaluate our purchases before we make them. If you want to get your loved one chocolates and flowers that’s fine – just think about how you’re doing it. Ask yourself: Where are those flowers and chocolates coming from? Were they grown with pesticides? Are they from overseas?

Not sure if you know this but most flowers (80% in fact) are grown overseas. In fact, in America alone, 100 million roses are grown, shipped and purchased on Valentine’s Day – this produces approximately 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide. That doesn’t even account for other flowers, holidays or countries!

This is why it’s so important to educate yourself and think of purchasing sustainable gifts this Valentine’s Day.

And, gift ideas aside, this same mindset should be applied to anything you do on Valentine’s Day. Ask yourself: How can I make this day special, but sustainable as well?

Here are some ways to woo your sweetheart without harming the planet.

How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day
Source: The Reformation

Ethical lingerie

Want to look and feel amazing this Valentine’s Day? Check out Reformation’s intimates collection – they have a bunch of sexy undergarments made from sustainable materials like Tencel and recycled nylon. Plus there’s some really cute, sustainably made PJs there too!

There are so many attractive undergarments to choose from in various colors, cuts and styles. I really love the costa bra in particular – it’s made from recycled nylon and is slightly sheer with pretty lace patterns.

I love how Reformation also tells you sustainability stats of each product they create. It explains the carbon, water and waste you’ll help save by buying it measurable metrics.

Everything is always shipped plastic free too. Usually, Reformation packages their products in a protective compostable baggie which is super innovative.

Even if you don’t have a significant other, spoiling yourself with some ethical lingerie never hurts! You deserve to feel confident and sexy – and you can view it as a Valentine’s Day gift to yourself. Check out the collection here.

How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day

Sustainable sexy time

If you plan on getting frisky, I suggest using sustainable condoms, like the ones from Sustain. These condoms are free of harmful chemicals, parabens, synthetic fragrances and animal by-products.

These condoms are vegan, FDA cleared, fair trade, and sustainably produced. Literally, they are the most eco-friendly condoms on the market.

I love the fact Sustain donates 10% of its profits to support women’s health organizations in the United States too.

Condoms may create waste physically, but they help protect you from unwanted pregnancies and STDs – things that lead to even more waste down the line. I’ve got nothing against kids (eventually I’d love to be a mom), but unplanned pregnancies result in a lot more waste than a single condom ever could.

Plus, conventional condoms tend to contain nitrosamines, which is a known carcinogenic (aka, cancer causing). No thanks.

Sustain is currently the only brand that removes this harmful chemical from their products. While their packaging isn’t completely waste free, it’s still the best option at the moment.

Obviously any protection is better than none, but it’s still good to know your options. You can check out Sustain here.

How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day
Source: Alter Eco

Eco-friendly chocolate

The production of cocoa causes deforestation, believe it or not. That’s why it’s important to source your chocolate from responsible brands like Alter Eco.

I’m in love with Alter Eco because they are completely plastic-free, non-GMO, fair trade, organic and above all – YUMMY. They taste fantastic and I’ve seriously got a soft spot for their truffles. God, it’s like biting into heaven.

The coolest part about them isn’t just their all-natural, responsibly sourced ingredients either – it’s their packaging. The truffles aren’t wrapped in plastic, but in compostable candy wrappers made from plant-based, renewable materials – mainly Eucalyptus and birch. Isn’t that incredible? You can check out their truffles here.

They also create decadent chocolate bars – these too are made using organic, non-GMO ingredients. And, they’re wrapped in recyclable aluminum foil and FSC certified paper. What’s not to love? Check out their chocolate bars here.

You could also whip up some yummy chocolate treats of your own, using ingredients from the bulk food store. Homemade chocolate chip cookies and vegan chocolate bites are always a good idea.

How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day

Tree free cards

Thinking about getting someone a card this holiday? Why not make it a cute Tree Free card?

Tree Free cards are made with 100% post consumer recycled paper. The envelopes are made from 100% wheat straw. That makes the entire card completely recyclable!

I adore the fact these cards were printed with solar energy. The paper was made with wind power and processed without chlorine as well.

I really love this card with the saying “Owl Always Love You” on the front. I have a thing for owls, so this hits me right in the feels.

Upon purchase you get 4 of these adorable cards with matching color coordinated envelopes. Too cute. Check them out here.

You could always make a homemade card too. Nothing beats homemade because they’re so original and special! I always make my own cards for my folks and they look forward to them every year.

How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day

Local, plastic-free flowers

Want to surprise your sweetie with flowers? As you might recall from my preface, 80% of flowers are grown overseas. But if that wasn’t worse enough – they’re also grown with pesticides and wrapped in plastic!

Do your sweetheart a favor and try to find plastic-free flowers. Maybe this means going to your local florist and asking if they have any local blooms they can wrap in paper.

Try to support a local florist whenever you can. You can befriend them and ask them what their sustainability practices are. If the florist sees there’s a demand for local blooms without plastic, they’ll be happy to create that for you.

You can also try seeing if there are any blooms growing around your neighborhood this time of year you can forage. Since it’s February and cold, there probably won’t be much. Still, worth a shot! In warmer areas, you may have more luck.

Also, you don’t necessarily have to get roses to communicate your love. Here are a few local flowers that are blooming in the Northern Hemisphere right now that are just as stunning: Carnations, pansies, chrysanthemums, and gerbera daisies.

You could even gift a cute houseplant or succulent instead of flowers! Those plants will stay alive much longer and every time your sweetie looks at them, they’ll think of you. Isn’t that cute?

How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day

Sit down meal

Sit down dinners are always more romantic than fast food meals – period. Plus, when you go to a nice romantic restaurant, you won’t be creating as much waste. Chances are, everything will be reusable – including the cloth napkins!

Make reservations at a sit down restaurant you know serves their meals with real plates, utensils, cups and napkins. Just look up the place on social media or google – you’ll be able to tell if they use reusables via their pictures.

It’s not the end of the world if the place uses paper napkins – just bring a cloth napkin from home. Or, bring the paper napkin home to compost at the end of the night.

Might I recommend choosing a place with plant-based options? Eating a vegetable-rich diet isn’t just better for your health, but for the environment. Meat has a high water and carbon footprint that cannot be ignored.

You could always dine in and have a romantic feast in the privacy of your own home as well. If you do that, consider making some yummy plant-based dishes using food you got from your local farmers market and bulk food store.

For dinner at home:

I recommend beginning with this pomegranate, kale and wild rice salad with walnuts and feta for a nice appetizer. Gotta love a hearty salad!

As a main course, this butternut squash and kale risotto looks super delicious. I’d devour this in a heartbeat, honestly.

For dessert, this chocolate panna cotta with spiced pepita brittle looks mouth watering. Who doesn’t crave chocolate on Valentine’s Day?

Zero waste date ideas

Looking for something to do this Valentine’s Day? I’ve got you covered:

  • Dinner and a movie: This classic date is super fun. And you can certainly keep things zero waste! Here’s how to stay zero waste at the movies. Also, make sure to follow my tips for dining above.
  • Bowling: This activity is pretty low waste to begin with – just make sure to bring your own socks. If you have bowling shoes, bring those with you too! The bowling bowls and pins are reused so there’s little to no waste to worry about. Just make sure to bring your own zero waste snacks and a reusable water bottle with you – the snacks and drinks in the vending machines won’t exactly be waste free.
  • Mini golf: To keep this fun little activity zero waste, don’t ask for a score card. Honestly, it’s more fun to not keep track of whose winning and just play! You can return the mini golf gear at the end of your game so everything is waste free and reused.
  • Local Museums: Both enjoy learning, art or history? Check out your local museums – you can wander around and produce no waste. Plus it’s a good chance to brush up on local history!
  • Explore the town: Act like a tourist for the day and go on a mini adventure with your sweetheart. Even better if you’re able to do it on foot, instead of by car. You never know what cool shops, stores and eateries you’ll come across. Your town is bound to have little hidden treasures you’d never find driving past it at 50 mph.
  • Hit up an arcade: If you’re lucky enough to have an arcade in your town, be sure to take advantage! Skip the drinks and cheap arcade prizes and go for the games!
  • Game night: You could always stay in and play some fun games together – maybe a classic like Scrabble or Checkers?
  • Snuggle up: Rather just stay in? Use this day as an excuse to snuggle up with your sweetie. Maybe watch a favorite film on Disney+ or Netflix? Whatever your heart is content with, do.
How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day

Did you enjoy this zero waste Valentine’s Day guide?

For more zero waste tips, check out this zero waste Valentine’s Day post I wrote last year.

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By Ariana Palmieri

Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

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