Valentine’s Day is a time to express your love and appreciation for your partner, but it can also have a negative impact on the environment. From the carbon footprint of roses and chocolates, to the waste generated by cards and wrapping paper, the traditional ways of celebrating this romantic occasion are not very eco-friendly. However, there are some simple and creative ways to make your Valentine’s Day more green and sustainable, without compromising on the quality or the sentiment of your gift.
Choose Local and Organic Flowers
One of the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts is a bouquet of flowers, especially roses. However, most of the roses sold in the UK are imported from countries like Kenya and Colombia, where they are grown with pesticides and fertilizers, and then transported by air, emitting greenhouse gases and contributing to climate change. A better alternative is to buy local and organic flowers, which are grown without harmful chemicals and have a lower carbon footprint. You can also look for fair trade certified flowers, which ensure that the workers who grow them are paid fairly and treated well. Another option is to buy potted plants or seeds, which can last longer and be planted in your garden or balcony.
Opt for Ethical and Vegan Chocolates
Another common Valentine’s Day gift is a box of chocolates, which can be delicious but also problematic. Many of the cocoa beans used to make chocolate are sourced from West Africa, where child labour and deforestation are rampant. To avoid supporting these practices, you can look for ethical and vegan chocolates, which are made with organic and fair trade cocoa, and do not contain any animal products or palm oil. You can also make your own chocolates at home, using ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and nuts. This way, you can control the quality and quantity of your chocolates, and personalize them with your own flavours and shapes.
Make Your Own Cards and Wrapping Paper
A third typical Valentine’s Day gift is a card, which can convey your feelings and emotions in words. However, most of the cards sold in shops are made with paper that comes from trees, which are cut down and processed, using water and energy. Moreover, many cards are coated with plastic or glitter, which make them non-recyclable and harmful for wildlife. A greener alternative is to make your own cards and wrapping paper, using recycled or biodegradable materials, such as old newspapers, magazines, cardboard, or fabric. You can also use natural or edible items, such as dried flowers, leaves, herbs, or fruits, to decorate your cards and wrapping paper. This way, you can show your creativity and originality, and make your gift more personal and unique.
Plan a Low-Impact Date
The final aspect of Valentine’s Day is the date, which can be a romantic and memorable experience. However, many of the common date ideas, such as going to a restaurant, a cinema, or a spa, can have a high environmental impact, due to the food, energy, and water consumption involved. A more eco-friendly option is to plan a low-impact date, which can be equally fun and enjoyable. For example, you can cook a vegan meal at home, using local and seasonal ingredients, and set the mood with candles and music. You can also watch a movie or a show on your laptop, using a streaming service that supports renewable energy, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Alternatively, you can go for a walk or a bike ride in nature, and appreciate the beauty and tranquility of your surroundings.
By following these tips, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day in a way that is good for both your relationship and the planet. You can also inspire others to do the same, and spread the message of love and sustainability.