Recorra’s tips for a more sustainable Valentine’s Day
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Valentine’s Day is here again, and despite the loving sentiment we’re looking at (non-recyclable) glitter-strewn cards, blow-up love heart balloons lost to the sky, and an abundance of ethically questionable chocolates. Like many holidays, Valentine’s Day creates an unfortunate amount of excess waste. It’s also a chance for couples to do things a little differently, and look for more sustainable options to show appreciation for one another.
2 love heart lollipops
Chocolate is a time-tested Valentine’s gift: but chocolate also has a social and environmental cost. Thankfully, several companies do their best to produce sustainable chocolate with more transparency across their supply chains. Original Beans and Tony’s Chocolonely have been ranked as the top two sustainable chocolate companies by the Chocolate Scorecard, which ranks and grades chocolate companies on sustainability issues ranging from traceability and transparency to deforestation and climate. Original Beans and Tony Chocolonely’s big bars (180g) also have fully recyclable packaging, to limit their impact on the environment even after consumption.
Flowers & bouquets
Flowers are another popular Valentine’s gift. While plants are compostable, their sustainability factor depends on where and how they are grown. Roses don’t naturally grow in winter in the UK; many of the red roses bought for Valentine’s Day have been grown in warmer climates overseas, like Colombia and Kenya, or under artificial heat in Europe before they are imported by plane and delivered across the country. For this reason, your Valentine’s Day roses likely have a high carbon footprint.
So what’s the solution? Gifting bouquets of winter flowers, including daphnes, violets, and early blooming daffodils, limit imports from across the globe and thus reduce carbon emissions. Dried flowers are also a beautiful and long-lasting option. Still want to gift a traditional bouquet? Sustainable flower delivery services like Bloom and Wild also provide sustainably and ethically sourced flowers with minimal and recyclable packaging.
Bouquet of white flowers
Long lasting gifts that will be used beyond the month of February are always a safe option; mugs, art pieces, even sustainably made candles. These can easily be brought from small business or independent sellers like those on Etsy and help support the local economy. If you plan to buy jewelry as a gift, the company Pandora has taken various steps to improve their sustainability practices including the use of man-made and synthetic stones and 100% recycled sliver. Pandora also now produces lab-grown diamonds, using renewable energy to do so.
There are plenty of alternatives to wrapping paper for gift-giving. Fabric is one alternative and can be found for very little cost at charity shops and second-hand stores; this technique has traditionally been used in Japan for centuries. Furoshiki, a traditional cloth-folding technique, allows objects of various sizes to be wrapped in a single piece of cloth. Old maps and newspapers are another alternative as are baskets or reused cardboard boxes.
Valentine’s Day does not have to be as damaging to the environment as it currently is. Romantic gestures come in all shapes and sizes, and consideration for how you source your gifts can go a long way to showing love for our planet too.
Brown paper wrapping