It’s almost that time of year again! The weather is still chilly, Christmas and Thanksgiving are far in our rearview mirror, which means it’s almost time for lovers and loved ones around the world to show each other their love and appreciation: Valentine’s Day. Though the day of love is one a lot of people look forward to, this holiday is actually one that generates a shocking amount of waste.
If you and your honey are Earth lovers, consider following a few of these recommendations to help reduce Valentine’s waste. In this guide, we will cover a few of the practices that make Valentine’s Day a wasteful holiday and give you a few tips for making this typically pink-filled holiday a little greener.
Skip the Card
Cards are a staple of Valentine’s Day celebrations and a great way to tell that special someone how much you love them in a few simple words. While we would never suggest you skip sharing loving words with your favorite people this February 14th, we do suggest you avoid pre-made cards. The truth is, most holiday cards (including Valentine’s Day cards) are enjoyed for a few moments before being stuffed into a drawer or being thrown away, and considering the environmental impact of the greeting card industry, this seems like a real waste of paper and resources.
Around 145 million greeting cards are sold in the U.S. every Valentine’s Day, earning the greeting card industry close to $900 million for a single holiday. While these cards are made primarily of paper, most contain plastic, metal, or other material elements that make the cards non-recyclable. Because of this, the majority of these cards will end up in landfills, or simply polluting one of your junk drawers before you eventually decide to toss it in the trash.
Rather than purchasing an expensive pre-made greeting card this Valentine’s Day, consider making one yourself instead. Use a photo of you and your loved one, pick up a menu from your favorite restaurant, recycle colorful paper items, or simply forgo a physical card altogether. Tell your loved one in person how much you adore them, send a lovely email, or give them a call to remind them that they are special to you.
Skip the Bouquet of Flowers
Flowers are another mainstay of Valentine’s Day, and though you may love the smell of fresh flowers in your home for the first few days, most bouquets last only 5 or 6 days before needing to be thrown away. Besides being a relatively short-lived gift, the stem flower industry has a serious impact on the environment. Due to few regulations on stem flower growers, many employ excessive pesticide use in order to protect their crops and their profit. These harmful chemicals leach into water supplies, soil, and can be harmful to wildlife including butterflies, birds, bees, and the many critters that help keep our world in balance.
Once harvested, stem flowers require a huge amount of energy to store. En route to your loved one, step flowers, and bouquets require refrigeration, often using up to 25% more fuel than non-refrigerated transport vehicles. With more than 4 billion flowers being shipped in the U.S. every Valentine’s Day, it is no wonder carbon emissions see an uptick in February.
Instead of buying your loved one a bouquet this Valentine’s Day, give them a botanical gift that won’t wilt in a few days. Pick up packets of seeds at your local greenhouse and create a future spring project for you and your loved one. Opt for bee and butterfly-friendly plants and create a little floral oasis in your own back yard. No room for a garden? Pick up a potted plant like a succulent instead. These lovely little green gems can last years if properly looked after, and your loved one will be reminded of your love every time they water their Valentine’s plant.
Skip the Jewelry
Though a shiny piece of jewelry is usually a welcome gift, the gold industry is one that produces a shocking amount of waste and has a massive impact on the environment and on the people working to produce the precious metals. The gold industry, in particular, has a long history of unsustainable practices and worker’s rights problems. Gold miners face harsh conditions for little pay, building massive profits for mine owners and managers.
Besides the blatant worker’s rights problems, the gold industry also produces a massive amount of waste. The production of gold jewelry purely around Valentine’s Day produces as much as 34 million tons of mine waste, the majority of which is dumped into oceans or left to pollute local natural habitats.
Still want to get your honey a piece of gold jewelry? Check out local consignment and thrift stores. The purchase of gold that has already been made into jewelry won’t contribute to the new gold market, and won’t help keep gold demand high. Since gold is a metal, it is practically infinitely recyclable, so in truth, there isn’t much need for new gold anyway.
Green Gift Ideas
Valentine’s Day is a special occasion, one meant to make your loved ones feel good in the midst of the coldest part of the year. While some of the wasteful products mentioned above shouldn’t be on your shopping list this year, there are plenty of ways to give the people you love a special feeling this Valentine’s Day. Check out some of these eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gift ideas:
Eco-Friendly Safety Razor
If you have a beard, legs you like to shave, or underarms that feel best hairless, there is no more luxurious feeling than the smoothness you get after a really good shave. As far as we’re concerned, disposable plastic razors should be a thing of the past. Not only are disposable razors horrible for the environment, but they also usually only have one or two good shaves in them before they need to be replaced.
This Valentine’s Day, gift your loved one with a luxuriously smooth shave they’ll enjoy for years. Wowe Lifestyle’s Eco-Friendly Double Edge Safety Razor features a bamboo handle, stainless steel construction, and replaceable (and recyclable) stainless steel blades that give you the kind of shave you used to only be able to find at a barbershop. Best of all, our eco-friendly razor is designed to last a lifetime, making it an excellent and thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift for a special hairy someone.
Reusable Produce Bags
If you have a foodie in your life, consider saving a little money by cooking a meal together at home. This Valentine’s Day, present your loved one with a set of Organic Cotton Produce Bags and bring them along to the grocery store. These bags are fully reusable, made from 100% organic cotton, are washable, and can help you cut down on the number of plastic bags your household uses.
Create a delicious menu plan, walk the aisles of your favorite grocery store with your favorite person, and bring the spoils home in reusable and eco-friendly shopping bags to make the trip a little extra special. These bags make great gifts since they can be used again and again. Not only will your favorite foodie enjoy the environmental aspect of these bags, they’ll enjoy how professional they feel whipping out their special produce bags to pick up their favorite exotic fruits and veggies.
Stainless Steel Straws
Drinking from a straw is one of life’s little pleasures, but plastic disposable straws are putting a serious strain on the environment. Non-recyclable and often littered, plastic straws commonly come to rest in rivers, lakes, oceans, and waterways where they can easily be consumed by fish and marine life. If you have a loved one that loves straws, cold drinks, and drinking cold drinks with a straw, give them the gift of a lifetime’s worth of straws.
A single Stainless Steel Straw from Wowe can last a lifetime with proper care, and can completely remove the need to use disposable straws ever again. Stainless steel straws are great to bring along to your favorite coffee shop, an awesome travel accessory, and a classy way to serve drinks at your next party.
Plant a Tree
At Wowe, we love the planet, which is why we give 1% of our sales to planting trees worldwide through One Tree Planted. One Tree Planted is dedicated to reforestation and preserving vital natural resources around the world. Now, One Tree Planted is turning some focus to Australia, working replant trees lost in the recent wildfires.
This Valentine’s Day, consider giving your one true love something to help the planet by donating to One Tree Planted. A simple donation of just $1 plants a tree, helping to preserve and support ecosystems and forests around the world.