Valentine’s Day is almost here! February 14 is the day to celebrate love and show the special people in your life how much you care for them.
Like you, we like to think of it as a day to show the earth some love too! Traditional Valentine’s Day practices — flowers, cards, gifts, food — can add up to a lot of waste and environmental harm. But there are many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day more sustainably.
We’ve put together 7 tips on how to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day (without sacrificing any of the lovey-dovey stuff)!
1. Skip the flowers — give a potted plant instead.
A beautiful bouquet of roses is a staple for Valentine’s Day. But unfortunately, flowers carry a lot of hidden costs for the environment. Most of the bouquets you find in stores have been transported a long way before they reach you, sometimes even from other countries. That creates a high carbon footprint for a gift that’s only enjoyed for a day or two!
If you want to give your special someone something thoughtful and beautiful, give a potted plant instead! This way, your gift will last for a long time, and add beauty to your home. You can give one that’s easy to care for, like bamboo, aloe, snake or spider plants.
You could also add beauty to your garden by planting seeds for annual flowers together!
2. Keep it sweet with fair-trade chocolate.
If your partner has a sweet tooth, you can still surprise them with chocolate on Valentine’s Day in a sustainable way.
Fair-trade chocolate guarantees that the cocoa was sourced in a responsible way for the farmers and the environment, without harming wildlife or forestation. And it always tastes delicious. Win-win!
You can find fair-trade chocolate online or in many stores — just look at the wrapper for a certification stamp or logo.
3. Be extra-thoughtful with a homemade card.
Instead of a store-bought Valentine’s Day card that was made from trees, tell your loved one how you feel with something more homemade.
If you’re not artistically inclined, it could be as simple as writing them a note or love letter. Or maybe a song if you’ve got musical talent!
Something homemade is guaranteed to be a lovely surprise, and more likely to be cherished for a long time.
4. Shop for eco-conscious wrapping paper.
It might surprise you to know that a lot of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. Many brands have been made from foil or contain additives like glitter that make them non-recyclable.
If you’re giving a gift this Valentine’s Day that needs to be wrapped, look for wrapping paper that is made purely from paper and be sure to recycle it after the gift has been opened.
Or, skip the wrapping paper all together! You can use newspaper, fabric, glass jars — get creative and aim for zero waste!
5. Share a delicious — and local — meal.
Enjoy your romantic Valentine’s Day dinner over delicious, local food! By supporting local growers, you’re reducing your meal’s carbon footprint.
Find a restaurant that supports local farmers or follows farm-to-table practices. You could also skip making reservations (or pretend you didn’t forget) and pick up organic ingredients from a nearby farmers market. Then, treat your special someone to a home cooked meal or picnic! This will also help curb your food waste.
6. Help your kids make eco-friendly classroom cards.
If you’re a parent, you know the drill — Valentine’s Day usually means exchanging cards or gifts with the whole classroom.
This year, use it as an opportunity to teach your kids how to practice sustainability. Look for cards that are made from recycled paper, or go DIY and make them yourself from recycled cardboard!
You can also look online for creative ideas that are eco-friendly, like homemade gifts or seed packets!
7. Impress your sweetheart with your commitment to the environment!
This Valentine’s Day, consider proposing… that the two of you start volunteering together!
It’s proven that volunteering makes people feel happier, and it can also be a great bonding experience for couples! It can strengthen your relationship and be a way for you to connect over a cause that you’re both passionate about.
Keep America Beautiful has over 700 affiliate groups across the country that offer volunteer opportunities from cleaning up litter, to replanting trees, to beautifying neighborhoods and more.