There are so many ways to reduce waste on Valentine’s Day, especially when it comes to gifts. Although it may not be traditional, it doesn’t mean the gift or experience will be worth any less! Valentine’s Day is next week, so if you haven’t figured out what to gift your loved one(s), here are some last minute sustainable and thoughtful gift ideas.
Ways to give back
Sponsor a child’s education, or plant a tree in the name of your loved one; or donate to a non-profit organization or shelter.
Register a star for your loved one.
DIY health and beauty products are always great alternatives to expensive, chemical-filled store brand products. Taking the time to make these products will show your loved one how much you care about them! Some of these DIY beauty products include:
All of these products require minimal ingredients, most of which you can find around your house already.
Instead of buying flowers, cards, or chocolate, gifting experiences is a great way to spend quality time with your loved one(s). Signing up for a couples massage, going to see a favorite band, taking a painting class, or renting an AirBnB for a weekend escape are great gift alternatives compared to the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts.
opens IMAGE file Flowers
Almost 80% of fresh flowers sold in the United States are not grown in North America, but in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Israel. Shipping flowers from those countries to the United States requires a huge amount of transportation, energy, refrigeration, and storage costs, leaving an enormous carbon footprint.
Instead of a bouquet or fresh cut flowers, consider a potted plant. Giving a potted plant (from a local nursery or garden center) will last longer, and if you want to stay classic, floral options that are potted like orchids, lilies, and azaleas are a great compromise as well.
If you do not have a green thumb, succulents are a great option as they require little maintenance!
If you’re going to spend money on chocolate, make sure it’s worth your buck by purchasing Fair Trade chocolate. This means purchasing ethically sourced products that do not compromise the well-being of their workers for profit. Although Fair Trade may be a little more expensive than non-Fair Trade, knowing the ethical components of where your dollar is going should be enough to want to make sure your significant other is getting the highest quality chocolate they deserve on this special day.
Here is a great list of resources on Fair Trade Certified brands.
- If you plan on going out to dinner, avoid wasting any food by taking home leftovers!
- Instead of getting your child the same old classic heart-shaped valentine chocolate box or toy, a great and simple alternative is to purchase bulk candy or any other sweet treat and place them in several small mason jars. If your local supermarket does not have a bulk section, purchase candies that are already in paper boxes like Milk Duds, Nerds, etc.
- This gift is visually pleasing, requires little effort, and can provide a fun, yummy, and sustainable option for your child.
- Make Valentine’s cards from items you already have in your homes such as recycled materials, magazines, calendars, and even cardboard.
Whether you plan a romantic getaway weekend or plant a tree in the name of your loved one(s), any of these options are thoughtful, personable, and sustainable. Good luck!