This Valentines Day....Love the Planet
It's clear that Valentines Day is going to be a bit different this year. Celebrating in the comfort of our homes, and only popping to the shops for essentials it seems as good a time as any to start thinking more creatively and make more sustainable choices around how we celebrate our loved ones this year.
So you may be asking yourself, what’s wrong with keeping it simple with chocolates and flowers?
Nothing in theory, if you make sustainable choices!
We see a huge influx of red roses ready for Valentines Day celebrations across the UK, but did you know we import nearly all of our roses - around 93%.
Arriving by aircraft, we see almost 8 million roses (around 570 tonnes) imported to the UK every February in time for Valentines Day. Not only does this mean the bouquets we are buying have a huge carbon footprint but workers from the countries they originate from such as Kenya and Equador experience poor working conditions (including exposure to pesticides) and exploitation.
And then of course there’s the fact that most bouquets come as standard wrapped in single use, non recyclable plastic.
Fortunately there are a couple of easy things you can do to sustainably source flowers for your loved ones this year:
1. Buy locally grown - if you’re visiting your local florist it’s as simple as asking where they come from, or buy from your local farm. Websites such as Flowers From the Farm allow you to locate where you can buy locally grown flowers near you!
2. Avoid plastic wrap - it’s usually as simple as asking for a paper wrap instead of plastic.
3. Keep it seasonal - this means that flowers don't have to be transported from different climates, they smell fresher and last longer.
Chocolates are still the most popular valentines day treat, and much of the packaging on Valentines boxes consists of plastic moulding that will end up straight in landfill. That being said there's some super easy things you can do to make gifting chocolates more sustainable:
1. Select chocolates with ethically sourced cocoa - ensure that your chocolate comes from somewhere that workers are paid fairly and operate in good working conditions. Click here for a list of companies that use only ethically sourced cocoa.
2. Keep it palm oil free - Palm oil has been and continues to be a major driver of deforestation of some of the world's most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino.
3. Ensure the chocolate you select has fully recyclable packaging, or ideally none at all! Pop in store for our delicious vegan chocolate button refills. Bring an old container you’d like to reuse and we will fill it for you ready for your valentines day celebrations.
*This is probably a good time to remind you that you can bring those pesky plastic Ferrero Rocher boxes in store to our Terracycle drop off point where they will be sent off for reuse. See a full list of what you can drop to us here.
As of 2019, nearly 24 million cards were sent across the UK for Valentines Day, that was 10% more than the previous year. With us all finding ourselves having to stay home and see our loved ones less it's only fair to assume more of us will be looking to send cards this year. Many of the cards we can readily buy are wrapped in single use plastic or contain glitter and other non-recyclable materials such as foil so will likely end up in landfill.
1. The most simple request we can make is to buy cards that are fully recyclable!
2. Or why not go one step further and make your own? - Find yourself some recycled paper and a pen (avoiding glitter and foil) and create something that not only is sustainable but your recipient will likely keep and cherish.
I’m no artist but my partner and I have much more fun looking at what we’ve tried to create than opening a store bought card!
Here are a few more eco-friendly Valentines Day ideas that don't cost the earth!
- Keep it homemade
Why not try something a bit more creative this year? Here's a few ideas:
- Make your own paper bouquet - this idea came from my friend who made a paper aloe vera plant for our friend in hospital as we weren't allowed to bring in any live plants while visiting (pre-covid of course). The plant looked amazing, and meant so much more than a store bought plant. Get some inspo and instructions here.
- Promise Jar - If you're anything like me you make promises that sometimes fall by the wayside as time passes. Fill a jar for your loved one with all your promises to them written inside, anything from I'll wash the dishes more to plans for adventures. As you fulfil your promises the jar starts to empty which is super satisfying.
- A 3 course meal at home - This one is relatively easy, you can pick how intricate each course is and tailor it to your partners favourite dishes! Enjoy some quality time at home together with a slap up meal. Or why not take in turns making courses? Go one step further and create an outdoor vibe using some Christmas lights, an old gingham table cloth, some candle light and music and bring the piazza to your living room.
- Self Care Kits
Whether your shopping for your girlfriend, boyfriend, best friend or four legged friend there are so many great sustainable self care products that you can gift your loved ones.
- Mutiny Shavers - with 2 billion disposable razors ending up in landfill each year, this amazing Newport based company are putting a stop to that with their zero waste reusable razors (all package is completely recyclable and their entire range is vegan).
- Beard Elixir - another South Wales business, Equal=ibrium's beard elixir is the perfect addition to this self care kit. Operating on a closed loop system, get your elixir refilled or bring your container back and get your bottle deposit back.
- Hair Scrunchies - This scrunchie is made ethically in the UK from regenerated ocean plastic and other nylon waste.
- Palma Violet Sugar Scrub - based in Wrexham from Flawless, this exfoliator uses a gentle formula infused with the scent of palma voilets and panthenol. All ingredients are natural and sustainably sourced and this product is, vegan friendly, cruelty-free and handcrafted.
- Reusable make up pads - In the UK alone we use 11 BILLION wet wipes a year! These are the perfect replacement for cotton pads or make up wipes. Made from sustainably grown bamboo and cotton, they're absorbent and great for sensitive skin.
- Wild Wax, Organic Paw Protection - The perfect gift for your furry friend, this Wild Wax Organic Paw Protection balm protects, soothes and revives their paws
- Home Pamper Day
This year bring the spa to you!
Using refillable bath elixir by Equal=ibrium, our refillable bubble bath, Cole and Co's natural soy candles and sticking on some of your favourite tunes. This is the perfect relaxing end to the day without any packaging or waste in sight!
- Sustainable treats
Nigella I am not, so this one resonates with me.
Why not order in a hamper filled with sustainable vegan goodies and you don't have to lift a finger?
The Green Kitchen in Newport are offering an amazing package filled with loads of goodies perfect for a Valentines evening in. What's more, as part of our Love the Planet campaign when you spend £14 or more with us you get 14% off these hampers! And when you buy one of their hampers, you get 14% off any Sero products/refills in store or online! It's literally win/win!
We'd love to hear about other ideas out there! Please give us your eco valentines hacks in the comments below.