zero waste Valentine’s Day

Filed in Blog by on February 3, 2009 22 Comments
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rose1‘Tis the month of love and on the 14th we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Well actually we don’t; we never have done (who needs someone to tell you that today is the day to show your love for one another?), but we know lots of you gorgeous romantic people do; and we’re here to help!

Typical celebrations include cards, flowers, chocolate, bottles of bubbly, jewellery, cute teddy bears, lingerie and other delights to warm the senses and your libido.

So what is a zero waste couple to do? How can you celebrate Valentine’s Day and show your love for the planet at the same time?

I’ve come up with the following rubbish-free ideas. Please add yours to the comments below!

  • Make your own card from materials you already have at home, send an ecard or buy from an artist who uses recycled materials.
  • Bottles of bubbly are great! Just make sure you recycle the bottle afterwards and buy one with a real cork or screw top lid – no plastic corks!
  • You might remember that at the start of our zero waste week challenge last September, the lovely Mrs A sent me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from Wiggly Wigglers. She had specified biodegradable cellophane and all other materials to be reusable. Indeed they were. I had a fat piece of coir to keep my blooms fresh, the bouquet was tied with raffia and it all came in a cardboard box.
  • Mrs A found some zero waste chocolates just in time for Christmas. Pop over and see what she found. Or why not get decadent and order something from Cocoa Loco? Cocoa Loco have a great environmental policy and all they expect you to be left with are a few crumbs!
  • Why not make a land dedication through the Soil Association? It’s the perfect sustainable present!

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (22)

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  1. Kris says:

    Funny you should mention VDay as I’ve been thinking about it in the last couple of days.

    Looking round – I certainly don’t need to buy him chocolate, he still has some from Christmas and just got more for his birthday 🙂 We don’t necessarily do presents, but usually swap cards and make a date to do something together – a meal out, cinema etc (though rarely on the day as we’re not keen on crowds).

    I’m also planning his card – I’ve got red foil from Christmas biscuits and red netting from the chocolate I bought last week (still untouched, bizarrely!) and plenty of other bits and bobs to play with.

    He’s also been known to recycle – during our early days together he used to get me huge padded cards, which are all still around. It was a trip down memory lane to be handed one on a more recent valentine’s day with an additional message that he still felt the same 😀

  2. Mrs Jackson says:

    One year I cut out some hearts from paper and hide them all around the house with things written on – such as back massage, do the washing up for a week (he tends to do it normally), kiss, hug, breakfast in bed, etc and other things he could exchange them for.

    And of course we make our own cards.

    Good post again Mrs G

  3. Mrs Green says:

    Many of you raved about the idea of plantable Christmas cards; I’ve just found a plantable Valentine’s day card too 🙂

  4. I write love notes on the mini etch-a-sketch we own and leave it by the bathroom sink. It takes some practice for sure, but it makes for a nice surprise in the morning. Mr. Savvy has gotten into the habit too.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: The idea of a date is lovely, Kris. To me, if you’re going to celebrate, it should be all about spending quality time together, anyway.
    Like the re-cycled card idea 😀

    @Mrs Jackson: I love your IOU notes idea, Mrs J

    @SavvyChristine: Hi SavvyChristine – great to see you. The mini etch-a-sketch idea is soooo cute. My etch-a-sketch was one of my favourite toys as a child; when it eventually was no good anymore I was really sad about it!

  6. We’re a pair of the romantics who celebrate Valentine’s Day…not that we don’t tell each other we love each other every single other day! It’s just a fun excuse to do something special.

    We usually buy a takeout seafood dinner and enjoy it by candlelight. We put the kids to bed early, so it’s lovely and peaceful.

    And of course, there are a great many, um, spicy ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day that produce no waste. Ahem.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Sounds lovely, Kristen. I’m big into romance too – any excuse 🙂
    Have a great evening and enjoy your candlelit meal

  8. Katy says:

    I always think that you can’t go far wrong with home baked goodies for any celebration! I have a growing collection of easy but satisfying recipes, and a few complicated but amazing ones 😉

    Most of the packaging for baking ingredients can be easily recycled: paper bags for flour and sugar, cartons for eggs, paper and foil for chocolate, tetras or recyclable plastic for juice and milk. I just try to be careful how I buy fruit and nuts, and I have been known to go as far as peeling apart composite foil/paper butter wrappers!

    But I would also agree that the best present is quality time together.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Katy: Hi Katy! Home baked goodies get my vote too. I made lavender shortbread biscuits yesterday. Now, if I’d have got my heart shaped cutter out, a small Valentine offering would have been created too!
    Tell me more about the composite butter wrappers. Do you then recycle the foil and add the paper part to the compost?

  10. Poppy says:

    There was an article about Valentines Day on Countryfiles yesterday and whilst I was pleased to see that they were advocating ethical and Fairtrade gifts, I was saddened to see that the cards they recommended, (handmade/recycled paper etc) were all wrapped in cellophane!

    It sometimes seems as though we can only fight our battle on one front at a time and are pushed toward ignoring other issues that may weigh just as heavily 🙁

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: It seems really difficult to buy cards without the cellophane. I understand why they do it, especially for the lovely hand crafted cards that might have taken over an hour to make. But still, it’s a challenge for people like you and I.
    I think Katy summed up things well in another thread about the fact that we have to do the best we can with the resources we have……….

  12. Kris says:

    There are usually some unwrapped cards in Sainsburys – I know if I need an emergency card they can be okay on unwrapping and price.

  13. Mrs Green says:

    That’s good to know Kris; thanks!
    I just found this too – not sure how I feel about it, being wood, but it has a quirkiness factor and I guess it won’t end up in the landfill like most cards do:

  14. Kris says:

    I made Valentine’s cards today 🙂

    I actually did three – one for me to him, one for him to me (because I know he was fretting about getting out to the shops!) and one spare for the card box.

    I used up some card blanks that I’ve had knocking around for years, plus some pretty stickers that I was given, pretty paper and reused wrapping paper, plus foil from Christmas biscuits, it was good fun for quite a while, but inspiration was definitely dry after doing three!

    As for our date this year – well, it’s pretty cold so we’ve decided to stay in – DH has a real hankering for fish and chips so that’s what we’re doing for tea tomorrow *yay!*

  15. Mrs Green says:

    Sounds great Kris – I would love to see some photos for inspiration. If you can do it, will you email me some? Have a wonderful evening – fish and chips sounds fab!

  16. Kris says:

    The fish and chips was indeed very nice – it slid forward a day 🙂

    If I can I’ll steal back ‘my’ card as I’ve already handed it over and promised to forget what it looks like… (he was a bit distraught I’d made it – apparently this makes him feel even worse than if I’d bought my own card – I don’t care, I think it’s pretty and it didn’t cost £3 or £4 in the shops!)

  17. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: Glad the fish and chips were good. There is something very satisfying about the smell of them. Plus you can get them wrapped in greaseproof paper so there is no washing up and no landfill waste. Mr Green ate them with his fingers last time as there were no wooden forks; just plastic ones. Grrrr.
    I hope you enjoyed the surprise of receiving your card – if you know what I mean 😀

  18. Kris says:

    What do you do with your greaseproof paper Mrs G? So far I’ve only small quantities of it so have just saved it up.

    We brought our chips home, spread the papers out on trays and then ate them with regular knives and forks 😀

    I still haven’t taken pics of the cards yet, but will get to it!

  19. Mrs Green says:

    Greaseproof paper can be composted, Kris. Remember though, that we have an open fire, do something like that might just be burned here. Chips with a knife and fork – very civilised 😀

  20. Jane says:

    Bombarded by all sorts of Valentine’s rubbish at the supermarket I finally succumbed to a small box of Fairtrade chocolates (with recyclable packaging). Usually it is a good excuse to make a bit more effort with the evening meal. This time pudding was chocolates together. Yum. A little bit of self-indulgence.

  21. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Sounds lovely Jane, you old romantic 😀

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