Valentine’s Day is a time for couples (or to-be couples) to exchange gifts that show their love and affection for each other. Typically, we see many gift roses, chocolates and cards exchanged on Valentine’s Day. Aisles of card sections in stores are filled with Valentine-themed cards, and chocolates upon chocolates fill displays with bursts of red.
However, roses inevitably wilt some time after Valentine’s Day, and many gifts ultimately involve a great deal of waste.
According to Waste Expo, the waste produced from Valentine’s Day generates more carbon emissions than driving around the world 3993 times. The effects of carbon emissions have been proved, with signs of climate change and global warming already apparent.
To diminish the detrimental effects of the holiday’s waste on our planet, we can instead opt for alternative eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts. So read on for some great ideas on showing your love and affection in a more sustainable way.
Messages and letters are always a nice way to express your love and appreciation for your significant other. Plus, there are now plenty of ways to send messages to your partner without even using a piece of paper or buying a greeting card.
Nowadays, technology has become accessible for most of us. We can use this technology to create video messages or e-cards to send a greeting to our loved ones. Even if you aren’t tech-savvy, there are plenty of templates online that can easily be personalized. Add some of the photos you have on your phone to create a simple yet meaningful message digitally.
If you prefer to write a physical card or note, consider looking for recycled paper cards or postcards. Not only are these more environmentally conscious, but the effort you put into decorating the card yourself makes for a unique and sentimental memento.
You can also get creative – if words and writing aren’t your forte, why not try some origami? Christine Burrows, the founder of Christine’s Crafts, publishes crafting tutorials for those on a budget. Burrows recommends the origami heart corner bookmark, origami rose, T-shirt flowers or magazine flowers as craft projects you can gift your partner on Valentine’s Day.
Roses are a symbolic gift of love that many present to their partner on Valentine’s Day. However, research from Scientific American has found that the 100 million roses grown for Valentine’s Day in the United States produce around 9000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
Moreover, real roses will wilt soon after you give them. An alternative to real roses is artificial flowers. The unlimited shelf life of artificial flowers makes them the perfect idea for a sustainable gift.
Crochet flowers are also an eco-friendly alternative to real flowers. Crocheting has become a popular hobby – especially during the pandemic. If you don’t know how to crochet yourself, you can find a plethora of options on artisan sites like Etsy. Not only are crochet flowers a sustainable and cute gift for your partner, but you can also use them as cup holders or decorations long after Valentine’s Day has passed.
Free from the plastic wrapping and imbued with love, home-baked goods and meals are excellent eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts. Dinner at home or some cute cookies and chocolate decorated yourself creates the perfect romantic atmosphere fitting with Valentine’s Day.
You can also use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to unwind together with your partner. For example, take your partner out to a spa session or plan a staycation. In a different atmosphere from home, you can treat your partner to a relaxing escape from the world for a while.
Get creative in other ways
Jewelry is also a popular present on Valentine’s Day. Fine jewelry itself is usually a lasting investment. However, jewelry has also become a part of fast fashion, where many simply swap out their old pieces frequently, causing excessive waste in landfills.
However, jewelry that is part of a circular economy can be considered an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gift. For example, purchase from a sustainable jewelry brand that uses recycled materials or search for unique, pre-loved pieces at antique or thrift stores.
Donating in your partner’s name is another thoughtful, eco-friendly idea. Search for organizations that you partner supports or donate to a cause that you know they care about for a meaningful gift this Valentine’s Day.
Whatever you decide to do for the holiday, eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts can get your love message across to both your significant other and our planet.
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