Valentine’s Day is coming up - can you feel the love? You may want to show it too - but how can you do it sustainably? It’s a minefield out there - chocolate should be fair trade, cards should be recycled, jewellery should be conflict-free and even flowers can clock up the miles on their way from the field to your florist.
Here are a few ideas that will show the one you love that you also love to live consciously!
Forget flowers, give a plant
Over 90% of UK flowers are imported, mostly from the Netherlands. Chemical sprays freeze flowers to extend life, not to mention the carbon footprint of getting them to your door. Plants can be just as colourful as flowers but tend to last a lot longer. Since plants will stick around (with a bit of care) they’re a lasting reminder of your affection! Try a potted plant this year instead.
Make it an experience
Instead of a gift, give them an experience to remember. Bring them to a cooking class, make them a scavenger hunt, take a mystery tour or go on a country walk. Time together, especially when it’s personalised, is precious and creates shared memories. It also doesn’t have to cost a lot!
Try a staycation
Rather than a weekend away, lower your carbon footprint and play tourist in your own town. Reducing travel miles and staying at a smaller B&B or inn rather than a large hotel will help you reduce your impact. Once you’re there, try free museums, a self-guided walking or cycle tour, or check out what’s on in free publications like Time Out. You don’t have to go far to have an amazing time.
Get crafty and creative
Did you know that about a billion valentines cards are sent each year globally? The easiest way to avoid waste is to make your own card (and fill it words of love!). Beyond the card, a crafty and creative gift can show your person just how well you know them. This could mean buying second hand or trying up cycling. Skip new jewellery and go for vintage. Think outside the box - take an old t-shirt they love and make it into a cushion cover. Buy a second hand frame and decorate it then pop in a picture of you together. Or you could even pick a charity that’s close to their heart and donate – some even let you “adopt” an animal on their behalf!
Instead of eating out, why not eat in? Find out what’s in season, shop locally and cook from scratch – you might surprise them with your culinary skills! And you have the added benefit of controlling what goes into your meal. Better still, pack it all up as a picnic (don’t forget your Sasstainable cutlery!) and share a day out as well as a meal. And let’s not forget the chocolate - it goes without saying that it should be fair trade, child labour free (and even better if it’s vegan!)
However you choose to celebrate, Valentines is about expressing your love (and also a bit about impressing your loved one). So put a little extra effort in and make it one to remember - and not because it leaves a lasting impact on the planet.