Valentine’s Day is literally right around the corner and if you’re working through living more sustainably, chocolates and flowers don’t have to be your only options to choose from. Like you, I pondered over what would be a good Valentine’s gift that would decrease waste, yet still hold sentimental values many of us strive for when celebrating this holiday. Whether it’s for a significant other, friends, or family, here are 5 low waste Valentine’s Day gift ideas to check out!
Experience Your Love
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that doing an activity with a loved one not only creates fond memories, but builds a stronger foundation for your relationship. The possibilities are absolutely endless! Even during restrictive guidelines there are plenty of activities one can partake in. A picnic in a park, outdoor dinners, and even getting active on a hike or bike ride are all great options. If you’d rather stay in, there are dozens of online group classes you can sign up for too. Art classes, cooking classes, yoga classes, I could go on… the bottom line is Valentine’s Day can be celebrated, not with physical gifts, but with quality time.
Chocolate, but Make it Fair
Bet you never thought chocolate would be another way to live sustainably. When purchasing chocolate for V-day, ensure that it is Fair Trade Certified. This means the chocolate you are purchasing was ethically and sustainably sourced to put its workers and the environment before profit. Sure it will be a bit more pricey, but it’s worth looking into when buying a gift for a loved one. Fair trade chocolate also isn’t as uncommon as you think. Many organic markets sell these items like Trader Joes, Sprouts, and Whole Foods, just make sure it has the Fair Trade Certified logo on it. If you’re not interested in browsing the aisles, you can also check out the Fair Trade Certified website for chocolate brands to directly purchase from.
Homemade Never Goes Out of Style
Sometimes homemade gifts get a bad rep for being cheap, but in my opinion, homemade gifts are a way to showcase the effort and time you put into making it while also challenging your creativity. I know not all of us have the same artistic skills, but homemade doesn’t have to be a box with a ribbon on it either. Homemade can be cooking an entire dinner for your loved ones, a backyard movie night with all of the food and snack fixings, an at home spa treatment, etc. Similar to experiences, homemade gifts like this are great bonding experiences for everyone to highlight the importance of spending time together rather than spending money on items.
Diamonds Can Be Everyone’s Best Friend
If you’re planning on proposing or gifting something very very shiny, there are ways to buy the perfect diamond while still promoting a sustainable lifestyle. Conflict free diamonds ensure your stone was not mined from a war zone to fund insurgents or any other rebel groups (a.k.a blood diamonds). You can check to see if the store you are planning to buy your diamond from is conflict free by checking if they follow the Kimberley Process. Diamonds can also be lab grown, meaning they are man-made instead of mined from the earth. There are skeptics who believe lab grown diamonds are not real, however, that cannot be farther from the truth. Lab grown diamonds are exactly the same as earth grown diamonds. In fact, the only difference is pricing. Lab grown diamonds are much less expensive simply due to the fact that there is a shorter supply chain to get the diamond to its consumers. It’s a much better alternative from mined diamonds at a lower cost. There are other negative drawbacks of mined diamonds that lab grown diamonds don’t have like deaths per year, environmental impact of mining areas, etc. It’s worth looking into if you’re truly looking for sustainable diamond alternatives. Lastly, the most unique option would be finding a diamond second hand. Giving any kind of jewelry a second life is a great option because you not only will be repurposing an item that could end up in a landfill, but it will stand out from the rest of the jewelry one can find in batches at a mall or store.
Floundering for Flowers
Bouquets of flowers are a classic staple of Valentine’s Day. The best way to ensure you’re money is going toward a better cause is to shop with your local florists. It’s easy to buy from a big chain store, but why buy generic bouquets when you can find elegant selections with personal touches from the local shop owners and its workers? Supporting a local business also means there may be small ways to reduce your plastic like asking for flowers unwrapped or purchasing a single flower instead. Local shops are also exactly that: LOCAL. This means you can reduce your carbon footprint and overall cost from shipping and delivery fees from big flower chains and visit your florist in person and buy directly from them. The overall message, shop locally and support your community.
Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to highlight your love for your friends, families, or significant other and it can still be celebrated while furthering your sustainability goals. As always, it’s not about what you can’t change, it’s about what you can, and these sustainable ideas are easy options to choose from come February 14th. If you have other sustainable V-day ideas, leave a comment below and share what your plans are for your Valentine’s weekend!