It’s safe to say that Valentines Day in Australia is nowhere near as over the top as in America. You won’t find children handing out cards to every class-member, or decorations filling homes across my country.
To be fair, I’m basing that assumption of an American Valentines Day on many hours reading The Babysitters Club as a kid… so I may be way off!
But, Valentines Day is still a day filled with gift giving and card-sending around the world. I know some readers may fall into the ‘you should show your loved ones that you care for them every day, not just one day’ camp, which is fine! I, however, think that any excuse to add a little more love into the world is a good thing.
But those external demonstrations of love can take a toll… on our beautiful planet. So, this year cut the glitter heart confetti, pink balloons and pointless gifts. Celebrate your partner/ best friends/ gal squad/ family with an eco-friendly Valentines Day, instead!
Why? Well here are some scary statistics from Recycle Nation:
- Nearly a billion Valentines Cards are sent each year globally
- More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold each year
- 110 million roses, the majority red, are sold, wrapped and delivered within a three-day time period
Terrifying, huh? So much waste over a single day! So, here are my top ideas for an eco-friendly Valentines Day.
Give The Right Kind of Flowers
If, like me, you’re a sucker for flowers, Valentines Day is probably one of your favourite days of the year. It’s only been recently I’ve considered the environmental cost a beautiful bunch of flowers- from the water used for growing to the emissions generated from growing, harvesting and transporting. This has started to change the way I look at blooms.
Recently, my man cut a beautiful red bloom from the rose garden at his work, and bought home this one precious flower to me. There was something so simple, meaningful and authentic about this act… a level of romance that no big bunch of florist-bought flowers has ever quite matched. Over the next few days I watched its ruby petals unfurl with fascination. I’d never even noticed this beautiful process when a whole bunch was sitting on my shelf. #reflection
So what does this mean for Valentines Day? It means, perhaps you should skip store-bought flowers and opt for something more sincere instead. The plus side is they are likely to be more eco-friendly. Head to your nearest local flower farm, where you know the stems are freshly cut and likely low-waste. Purchase blooms that are native and in season- a dozen red roses on Valentines is overrated! Let’s get creative and gift some flowers that are a little more exciting… and personal.
In fact, why not ask your mum or grandma if you can raid her garden- I’m sure she’d love to know her well-tended flowers are going to someone you love!
Stay In and Cook Together for a Private Eco-Friendly Valentines Day
I might be a little biased here because my partner is a chef, but there is nothing I love more than a homemade meal, just the two of us.
Dress up a little, set a beautiful table and enjoy of a glass of champagne while you cook together. A little Jazz or Classical Piano streaming in the back ground, and voile, you have yourselves your own private romantic restaurant. You can dance (perhaps a little crazily), laugh too loud and take as much time as you want to enjoy your meal. Cooking is such a great way to work on something together, learn a new skill and conversation tends to just flow when you’re both focused on something else.
If you need some inspiration for a beautiful meal to cook for your love, head over to this post for an extensive round up of the best vegan and plant-based cookbooks going around.
Zero-Waste Gifts are Perfect for an Eco-Friendly Valentines Day
Want to know what I did for our first Valentines Day together, back in the day? Created an awesome outdoor fort filled with blankets and pillows, fairy lights, snacks and my laptop for watching a movie together. It took me a few hours to put together, was something unique and my man loved it. In fact, he still reminisces on how thoughtful it was.
The gift was about the time we spent together, the thought that had gone into creating it, and what a surprise it was.
If you are on board for a gift in the form of ‘time’ together here are some more ideas:
- Go for a hike and enjoy the sunset from the top. Take a picnic for a little extra happiness (food is always a good idea)
- Head to your city’s art gallery or museum. I can’t think of much that is more romantic than absorbing some of the world’s most beautiful art with your love by your side.
- Take a romantic weekend away together somewhere you’ve never been.
- Movie tickets to the latest must-see flick (something about this old-school date never goes out of style).
Life moves so fast that we often forget to slow down and enjoy the presence of the people we love most. Why not use your Valentines Day date as an excuse to do just that?
Non-Zero-Waste Gifts Can Work, Too
Things still do have a place in our lives, and that’s ok. When holidays like this come around, it’s about being considerate of your gift giving. Does the recipient need it? Will it add value to their lives? Are they guaranteed to love it? If so- go ahead and get them that vertical garden they’ve been dreaming about for months!
Some other ideas include…
- Gift some plants or cuttings to build your own outdoor (or indoor) herb garden together (just don’t get all Kate Hudson ‘You killed our Love Fern!’ crazy if it happens to die).
- A subscription to a favourite wellness magazine.
- A luxurious sustainable facial oil to pamper your loved one. I’m obsessed with this one!
- In fact, I might just point you to to my Ultimate Gift Guide for Wellness Lovers– it’s packed full of awesome gift ideas!
Ethical Chocolate for an Eco-Friendly Valentines Day
I don’t think it would be Valentines Day without a little chocolate. Am I just saying that because I’m a choco-holic? Maybe…
Anyway, I’d say most girls will be super happy with a box of chocolate but we’ll be even happier if that chocolate is ethical, and sustainably sourced! But which brand do you go with?
Seed and Bean is The Good Shopping Guide’s top pick for ethical chocolate- it’s completely organic, vegan and is wrapped up in compostable packaging! Who wouldn’t be thrilled about receiving a block or two of that as a gift??
I’d love to know whether you enjoy Valentines Day, and what your plans are for an eco-friendly celebration!