Celebrate Valentine's Day Sustainably
Valentine's Day is a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation to the people you care about. However, it's important to keep sustainability in mind as you celebrate. The commercialization of Valentine's Day has led to significant environmental impacts, with the increased consumption of chocolates, cards, flowers and stuffed animals.
On Valentine's Day in the United States alone, 36 million heart-shaped boxes, 180 million cards, 198 million roses, 881 thousand bottles of sparkling wine, and 58 million pounds of chocolate are purchased, resulting in carbon emissions equivalent to driving around the world 3,993 times— according to Waste 360.
Fortunately, there are ways to celebrate Valentine's Day more sustainably. Consider making your own card, baking homemade desserts, crafting hand-made candles, or finger-knitting a blanket. Instead of buying pre-cut flowers from the grocery store, head to the Vancouver Farmers Market to get some locally grown, fresh flowers. Save and dry them to re-use for your wrapping or card making next Valentines Day! Additionally, plan zero-waste date ideas like spending time in nature, going ice skating, having a candlelit dinner at home, or enjoying a cozy movie night. By choosing to celebrate sustainably, you can make Valentine's Day special while minimizing your impact on the environment.
Whether you plan on buying gifts for your significant other, children, parents, friends, coworkers, or pets, treating yourself to something special, or even purchasing an "anti-Valentine's Day" gift, consider these ideas that cut down on waste:
- Dinner: Instead of going out to a restaurant, consider making a meal at home using the ingredients stocked in your refrigerator and pantry. Get creative— check out our favorite scrappy cooking recipe guide!
- Flowers: Select potted plants or flowers that can be planted outside in the spring, avoiding cut flowers that only last a few days. Consider planting a tree with someone special and watching it grow together. Check out our calendar for local tree planting volunteer events.
- Clothing: Visit a consignment shop or thrift store to find a unique outfit for your special someone instead of buying new clothing that contributes to environmental harm. You'll be surprised at the gems you'll find!
- Candy: Make use of leftover candy bars or chocolate from previous holidays and create an easy, two-ingredient fudge. It's a fun and kid-friendly recipe! Don't have any chocolate on hand? Check out this 5-ingredient milk chocolate recipe with a vegan option!
- Gift cards: Give the gift of experiences and create special memories. Consider gift cards to dance or cooking classes, comedy shows, or even a hot air balloon ride. Check out Visit Vancouver Washington for fun, local experience gift ideas.
- Greeting cards: Get creative and make your own greeting cards using photos, stickers, or other reusable and recyclable items from around your house. No craft supplies at home? Consider creating a digital Valentines card to send to your loved one, it'll last forever!
- Gift wrap: Instead of using traditional wrapping paper, opt for sustainable alternatives like recycled paper, fabric, or even newspaper. Get creative with natural elements like twine, dried flowers, or reusable gift bags to make your gift eco-friendly and unique.
By embracing sustainable practices and making conscious choices, you can celebrate Valentine's Day while reducing waste and minimizing your environmental impact. If you receive Valentines items you plan to toss, head to Recycling A-Z and look up how to properly dispose of them.
Join Clark County Green Neighbors in breaking holiday waste cycles while making fun, new traditions this year!