Are you a full-on romantic, with Valentine’s plan carefully constructed in January? Or are you more of a last-minute, petrol station flowers and chocolate, panic buyer?
Plastic wrapped chocolates. Cute teddy bears made in sweatshops. Flowers imported from across the world. They might tell your significant other that you care, but what are the consequences for the planet, and the people making them?
Either way, if you want to celebrate the most romantic day of the year, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype. Often, this means spending money on things that aren’t environmentally kind or ethical.
Being more aware of what you consume on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean missing out on all the fun and romance. You can still show someone you love them without extravagance or mass-produced plastic.
This year, have a little heart and show some love to the planet by aiming for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day. Here’s how to keep it free from plastic and full of ethics.
1. Dinner for Two, Minus the Food Waste
A candlelit dinner is as green as it is romantic – think of the electricity you’re saving!
Eating at home can be as romantic as eating out. Set the scene with mood lighting, candles and music, and leave the washing up until the next day!
It’s also a great excuse to enjoy the warm weather of the Australian summer and pack up a picnic and enjoy a bike ride to a local beauty spot. An afternoon in nature is good for the soul, just remember to leave nothing but footprints behind!
Whether you go out or stay in, spending quality time with your loved one over a delicious meal is the perfect way to celebrate anything. In either case, avoid over-ordering/cooking so that all the surplus food that you don’t eat doesn’t end up in the bin and aim to eat as much local produce as you can.
2. Free From (Plastic and Bad Ethical Practices) Chocolate
If you’re feeling the love, why should that be at the detriment of someone else? The chocolate trade is steeped in bad ethics, from unfair working conditions and pay, to the use of palm oil. So this year, look for a Fairtrade box of chocolates. Warm cocoa also makes a tasty drink to share with many health benefits. Cacao is available at most health food stores, look for one without plastic packaging.
3. Finer Florals
Seasonal, locally grown food is sustainable, and the same can be said for flowers. When it comes to beautiful bouquets, keeping things environmentally friendly means that roses are out. When buying flowers, consider the amount of plastic wrapping they come in too. Would a potted plant be a better option? It’ll certainly last longer!
Also, if your flowers have come from overseas, there’s every chance that they’ve been grown and cut by someone not paid a fair wage. This is especially true at this time of year to meet demand.
4. A Handmade Valentines
You don’t need to be a genius to be creative. Remember how simple life was when you made your own Valentines cards? Just because you’re an adult now, it doesn’t mean you can’t still make them.
Can you bake a cake or cook your Valentine’s favourite meal? Can you make them a beautiful Valentine’s card? Or write a poem, a piece of music or a song? Maybe you’re good with wood or metal. Painting or sketching. Can you sew without stitching yourself up? Whatever you can create, the chances are it will be more appreciated than something bought from a shop.
If words or art aren’t your thing, something else that can be given is a massage. Set aside an hour and do a loving massage for your partner. You could also make this into a fun activity for both of you by getting your partner to exchange the massage.
Get as creative as you like, safe in the knowledge no one else will be giving the same gift. It doesn’t matter how good it is; it’s the thought that counts!
5. Valentines Experiences
Experiences are often worth so much more than stuff. You can keep it simple with a walk in the park or an evening together playing board games with no phones or tablets. Dedicating time to each other, including the kids if you want to, can be so valuable.
Buy gift experiences like cookery class if they love being in the kitchen and you have the budget. Or simply handwrite some IOU messages, and leave them around the house. You could promise a massage, making dinner for a week or a trip to the cinema.
If you’re thinking of going away for the weekend, look for eco retreats. One that is accessible (and affordable) by train rather than driving gives you even more eco points.
Go against the grain, and do something different whilst being mindful of the planet. Often, a simple “I Love You” with breakfast in bed is more than enough.
Have less of an impact, show the planet some love and opt for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day this year.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let us know how you’ll be spending it this year in the comments below.