4 Ways to Have a More Sustainable Valentine's Day

Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is right around the corner. I personally L-O-V-E VDay! 

It's actually my favorite holiday. I love getting to express love through silly puns. I love wearing pink and red, and I love that this bright spot exists during the frigid and dreary month of February. 

I know a lot of people dislike the holiday, but I personally think that's because there's way too much emphasis on traditional romantic love. 

A lot of expectations and waste are created this time of year, and I feel like we could definitely do without all that. 

Instead, I prefer to look at this day as a celebration of ALL love! I think having holidays or reminders to appreciate your loved ones, and even check-in with yourself is a wonderful thing. 

I've rounded up a few ideas hitting the major topics like chocolate, flowers, and romantic candle-lit dinners so you can be a bit more sustainable. 

If you're looking specifically for presents inspiration, be sure to check out this post on eco friendly Valentine's Day gift ideas! 

1. chocolate:

My husband and I are major chocoholics. This holiday we're bound to be swapping and snacking on everything chocolaty! 

One of the things I love about chocolate is that it's a consumable gift. Consumable gifts are some of my favorite types of gifts to both give and receive because they're meant to be enjoyed, consumed, and it disappears unlike that 7' tall teddy bear which will stick around cluttering your room for all eternity.  

Other examples of consumable gifts would be a nice bottle of wine, a tray of cookies, a freshly baked loaf of bread, a candle, bath salts, etc. 

But, chocolate isn't without its problems. Chocolate has a long history of social, ethical, and environmental problems from child labor to rainforest deforestation. 

So, when you're out shopping for chocolate, try and look for fair trade labels as well as chocolate that's rainforest alliance certified. 

One of my favorite eco-friendly chocolate brands is Alter Eco. They’re a certified B corporation and they’re working to regenerate the rainforest. They’ve planted over 30,000 trees since 2008, and offset 14,400 tons of CO2 as part of their standard to be carbon neutral. 

Plus, their chocolate is plain delicious! 

I really want to write a blog post all about testing and trying sustainable chocolate bars. (But we all know it's an excuse just to eat a bunch of chocolate.....)

 

2. flowers: 

After chocolate, flowers are another one of my favorite gifts to give and receive. I feel like fresh blooms really spruce a place up. 

Of course, flowers have their own issues too... I mean... it's February. Where exactly do you think all of these flowers come from? 

Most of our blooms are flown in from Ecuador and Columbia. 

According to Vox, "30 cargo jets fly from Colombia to Miami every day in the three weeks leading up to the big day and a similar amount fly out from Ecuador, amounting to more than 15,000 tons of flowers delivered in less than a month."

These three weeks of deliveries are responsible for more than 360,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. And, this doesn't include the resources that go into growing the flowers, getting the flowers from Miami to other parts of North America, the refrigeration and so much more. 

One of the best things you can do is opt for local blooms! Call your local florist, and see if they have anything they can source locally.

Here are a few beautiful flowers that are currently blooming in the Northern Hemisphere: Carnations, Chrysanthemums, Gerbera Daisy, and Pansies. 

3. romantic meal: 

I love going out for a nice meal, but it's also fun to stay in and cook! If you're feeling like whipping up an indulgent meal for your sweetie or yourself because sometimes you need to treat too, then could I recommend this romantic plant-based feast? 

Open a nice bottle of wine, throw on your apron and let's get down to it! 

For the first course, I'd start with an appetizer of these delicious vegetarian stuffed mushrooms

For the second course, I'm making this butternut squash and kale risotto. But, if you're feeling a little more cheeky, make a heart-shaped loaded veggie pizza

Finally, for dessert, homemade chocolate truffles all the way! 

All three courses are quick and easy to whip up. Plus, they'll totally impress. 

4. greeting cards: 

My own little personal tradition is making Valentine's Day cards. I love cutting hearts out of pink and red paper and sending the cards to all my friends and family. 

If you're not feeling quite as crafty then there are a few places that you can get some sustainable cads, but my favorite spot is at Earth Hero. They have a huge selection of tree-free valentine cards that are SO stinkin' cute! 

If you have a kid in school, and they're supposed to hand Valentine's out to their whole class consider using fruit! You could write "I'm Bananas For You!" on a banana or "You're a cutie!" On a clementine.