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How to Have An Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but gone are the days of gifting teddy bears and mugs with cheesy messages on them. In this day and age, it’s all about being eco-friendly and mindful of the planet. According to Business Waste, an extra 9 million kilograms of CO2 is produced as a result of the waste created on Valentine’s Day.

Choose Fair Trade chocolate

Fair Trade chocolate is a great choice if your Valentine enjoys a sweet treat every now and again. Fair Trade chocolate is ethically and sustainably produced using fresh ingredients and, in addition to that, all the farmers involved in its production are paid fairly and are working in safe conditions. As well as that, the ingredients used to produce Fair Trade chocolate are often shade-grown, which helps to protect the rainforests.

Have a home-cooked meal

Instead of going out for something to eat, why not save yourself some money by cooking your meal at home. Not only does this give you the opportunity to source your own fresh, organic, local ingredients, but it also means that you aren’t travelling anywhere, either. You’re not going out in your car that will give off harmful emissions, for instance.

Where you could walk or cycle to your local restaurant or pub, enjoying some dinner at home can be equally as special. Source your food produce from local farm shops, green grocers, butchers and more. This way, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re cooking with, and eating, sustainably-produced and sourced food with a considerably small carbon footprint to match.

Look to vintage jewellery as a gift

If your partner likes jewellery, then don’t go to the high street, big-chain jewellers for a piece they’ll love. Instead, visit smaller, independent jewellers and choose something that has been pre-loved. This is a great idea if your Valentine enjoys vintage pieces and would prefer something that is second-hand as opposed to what the current market and trends have to offer. From watches and necklaces to bracelets and earrings, opt for vintage jewellery pieces if your partner is hoping for some bling this Valentine’s Day.

Make a charitable donation

Making a donation to a charity that is close to your partner, or to you as a couple, is a great way of giving something meaningful to those we love. It’s not a physical gift that could end up in landfill or in a charity shop once we decide it’s time for a clear-out. It has the ability to make a real difference to the lives of many, and not just in the form of humans. If your partner has a particular soft spot for animals in need, then you could donate to an animal welfare charity or sponsor an animal. Charitable donations are always a great gift for those who don’t want to give “stuff”.

Pick some flowers from the garden or plant one for your partner

Flowers are a go-to Valentine’s Day gift. But instead of choosing a bunch from the supermarket, go out into your garden and pick some flowers there. Something else you could do is, instead of picking flowers, to buy one that your partner likes and plant it out into your garden, front or back.

If, however, you don’t have a garden or anywhere to grow your plants and flowers, then visit your local flower shop. Not only will you be supporting a local business, but florists are more likely to sustainably-source their flowers and plants, making them a more eco-friendly option if you’re adamant that you want to give your Valentine some flowers this year.

Don’t use wrapping paper

Wrapping paper is notoriously known for ending up in landfill. This is partly because not many people are aware that the majority of it can be recycled, but the fact that not every kind of wrapping paper can be recycled often puts people off placing it in their paper recycling bin. The best way forward is to simply not bother wrapping your Valentine’s Day gifts at all.

If you have to make them look good, then use plain brown paper and use a striking ribbon to tie it all up with. This way, you know, without a doubt, that the paper can be recycled and the ribbon can be saved and used on another gift later on in the year. This way, you’re recycling every aspect of the wrapping, reducing your carbon footprint even further.

Send an e-card

Business Waste claims that Valentine's Day is the second-biggest holiday for giving cards to our loved ones. The same source also states that 25 million cards are sent out on Valentine’s Day every single year. Where you might think that all cards are recyclable, that isn’t always the case, especially if they’re covered in glitter.

If they are, then they will end up in landfill sites where the glitter will, almost, never break down. Instead, glitter is likely to end up in our oceans, being consumed by marine life. Glitter is a microplastic and, unfortunately, these microplastics are found in the majority of the world’s oceans, claims the National Geographic.

The best thing you can do is to refrain from buying a physical card altogether. You’ll be able to find and purchase a wealth of different Valentine’s Day cards that are online-only. Therefore, sending an e-card over a physical one is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint, whilst ensuring that no additional microplastics end up in the sea.