Enjoy a more sustainable Valentine’s Day

When you treat your loved one on Valentine's Day, earn some extra brownie points by opting for more sustainable gifts - show how much you care about them, and the environment.

Last year, Brits were predicted to have spent approximately £1.37 billion on Valentine’s Day, up from £926 million in 2021. However, non-recyclable/single use items, such as, glittery cards, helium balloons, and plastic packaging from chocolate boxes, will hang around long after we finish celebrating, contributing to the climate crisis.

This year, why not choose an eco-friendly option?

Instead of buying a glittery card that can't be recycled, have some fun making your own personalised card using recycled materials - reuse the cardboard from any boxes left over from online shopping, and take some clippings from magazines or newspapers to create something unique. If you're not the crafty type, and would prefer to buy a card, choose one made from recycled materials or make sure your choice can be recycled.

According to the British Florist Association, 80 per cent of fresh cut flowers are transported to the UK from the Netherlands, although a large proportion of them originate in Kenya. You can help cut carbon emissions by buying a pot plant, planting seeds, or planting a seedling - as it grows, it will hold special memories for both of you. If you can't resist cut flowers, ask your local florist whether they stock British-grown, organic flowers. Opt for compostable/recyclable packaging or, better still, take your own vase to the florist.

Many of us enjoy giving and receiving chocolates. Choose a sustainable and ethical chocolate brand - one that ensures its cocoa growers and farmers get a fair deal. Many of these brands produce chocolate either without the use of palm oil, or use sustainable sources of palm oil to reduce the threat to forests and wildlife, particularly in parts of South East Asia. Look out for the Fairtrade symbol on packaging or visit the Fairtrade website to read their guide to buying chocolate. Chocolates sold in recycled/recyclable packaging, as opposed to plastic packaging, is far better for the environment too. Alternatively, be adventurous and add a personal touch by making your own chocolate truffles, or other baked goods at home.

Avoid novelty gifts
Reduce your carbon footprint by avoiding novelty gifts that serve no practical purpose. There are more eco-friendly options available, such as, donating to a charity that seeks to protect the environment, or adopting an animal instead – you can adopt an otter with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust for £25.

Eating in/out
Consider buying some local, organic ingredients and cooking up a feast at home. But if cooking isn't one of your strong points or you'd like a break from it, take a stroll down to your favourite local restaurant. You might be feeling adventurous enough to try a vegan meal, which will also help to cut your carbon footprint.

A change of scenery is always nice. Consider taking an outdoor adventure closer to home rather than travelling miles to have an overnight hotel stay. Most of us are often so busy that we don't have time to explore our own local area. There's likely to be many hidden gems that you don't know about, and you'll be keeping your carbon emissions to a minimum, with the added bonus of saving money.

For more ideas on sustainable living, click here.


Every effort has been made to ensure the information used in this article is accurate. All information used to inform the article has been taken from reputable sources, and those sources are given at the end of each article.

We are aware, however, that data will change over time and that some information across the internet and printed matter can be contradictory.

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