A person cuts out paper hearts

Five Ways to Make Your Valentine’s Day More Sustainable

Written by Emily Kerr

From cards, to candy, to decorations and gifts, Valentine’s Day can quickly become one of the most wasteful days of the year. But it’s possible to celebrate and reduce your environmental impact with some simple swaps.

Cut flowers represent a huge portion of the impact that Valentine’s Day has. In most of North America, February is not a good time to grow flowers. About 80 per cent of cut flowers sold in North America are imported, according to the Globe and Mail. This means huge emissions are tied to Valentine’s Day purchases of flowers.

Switching can be simple: Choose seasonally-appropriate, local low-waste gifts can still allow you to celebrate the day without the huge footprint.

We put together this list of ways that you can make this Valentine’s Day the most sustainable one yet, from buying shares in future flowers to cooking together! Check out these five tips for having a sustainable Valentine’s Day:

1. Gift a spring/summer flower CSA

Yellow and white flowers
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels.

Why give someone just one bouquet of flowers when you can get them a locally-sourced, sustainable alternative?

Local eco-friendly florists and CSA market owners sell seasonally appropriate, locally-grown flowers. While there may not be stock now, you can purchase a flower subscription and gift your loved one bi-weekly bouquets from a store like Talula Fields General Store in Downtown Kitchener.

If you are buying flowers at retail, try to stick to fair trade certified flowers. There are still emissions from transit, but the certification means the flowers are grown in better conditions, with more pay for workers and protections against toxic chemicals.

2. Buy sweets in bulk

Jars of candy on shelves
Photo by Marianne Tang from Pexels.

Buying bags of individually-wrapped chocolates and candies creates a lot of waste. Opt instead to head to your local bulk or health foods store and buy some sweets in bulk!

This swap is perfect for Valentine’s Day in your child’s classroom — you can put your bulk treats into homemade boxes made out of paper or old cards.

Take it one step further and buy fair trade certified chocolates!

3. Skip the plastic decorations

A brown paper plant container with a heart in it
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels.

Plastic hearts and glitter are only going to end up in the garbage and potentially in our waterways after the day is over. Instead consider crafting your own décor, like these birdseed heart ornaments (which are super easy for kids to help with!) or these knitted hearts.

4. Give the gift of quality time

Two hands holding heart-shaped lollipops
Photo by Alleksana from Pexels.

Gifts don’t have to come from the store to be thoughtful and touching.

Give the gift of quality time to your loved ones this year and choose to spend time doing something special – like making their favourite dinner, getting a massage, or watching a movie!

The best part? This kind of gift can be dressed up or down, depending on your budget. Take photos to save this special memory you now have together!

Heart-shaped cookies in a heart-shaped tray
Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels.

5. Make n’ Bake together this year!

Instead of the “usual” Valentine’s Day filled with store-bought candies or gifts, try making sweets with your significant other, family or friends!

Whether it’s an old family recipe for chocolate chip cookies or something more challenging everyone can help with, you’re cutting down on packaging and getting an opportunity to spend time with loved ones and making something together, rather than going out and spending money on something that will likely be gone within seconds.

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