Hello neighbors. It’s February! That means romance is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches. But what’s sure to break your heart is the vast amount of waste we toss into our One Big Bin in the name of love. In 2017, Americans were expected to spend $18.2 billion dollars trying to help cupid’s aim stay true. With the majority of those dollars spent on greeting cards, candy and fresh-cut flowers, a huge amount of trash is littered across lover’s lane on behalf of Saint Valentine.
But fear not! With a little bit of preparation and a touch of creativity, you can turn on the charm while reducing the harm to the environment.
Here are 3 heartfelt ways to reduce Valentine’s Day waste:
1. Create your own Valentine’s Day card
Too often we rely on professionally produced Valentine’s Day cards to express our feelings and speak on our behalf. We forget it should be less about the style and presentation, and more about the substance behind what we’re trying to say. Find creative ideas online, capture what you want to say and make your own card from materials you already have. If you do opt for a store-bought card, select one made with recycled paper.
2. Give home-baked goods instead of candy
A box of chocolates has become the default choice for sharing sweets with your sweetie. This year, consider baking something for them instead! Homemade treats take some extra effort, but at least they aren’t packaged in cellophane and mixed materials that are difficult for your Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to recycle. If you and your oven aren’t on speaking terms, here’s a list of bake-free ideas. Not only will your valentine appreciate the personal touch, you can feel better knowing you’re reducing waste. If you do go the traditional route, look for treats wrapped in recyclable materials, like aluminum or cardboard.
3. Find alternatives to fresh-cut flowers
The romance and smell of fresh-cut flowers is hard to replace, but because about $403 million is spent every Valentine’s Day on flowers, a whole lot of beauty turns to trash after just a couple of days. Consider a flowering potted-plant instead. It’ll last longer and can be a growing symbol of you and your special someone’s enduring relationship. If you stay with the fresh-cut approach, consider buying local and organic to help prevent the spread of pesticides used on commercially produced flowers, and look for ways to compost your flowers after they die.