Repeat after us: green is the new red and pink when it comes down to our favourite February holiday.
Not sure how to pamper your favourite person and the planet at the same time? With less than a week until Valentine’s Day, we’ve got some excellent date and gift ideas up our sleeves for you.
(Don’t have a significant other? Not to worry. Take your grandparents out for dinner, give your cat/dog/parakeet some TLC, or take the day to treat yourself. You deserve it, pal!)
Check out our tips and tricks for having an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day below.
Ditch the cut flowers and gift a potted plant instead
Have you ever wondered where the cut flowers in big box stores come from? Generally, they aren’t from your backyard; instead, they’re flown overseas from the Netherlands, Colombia, Ecuador, or Kenya. Not only does this transport wrack up carbon emissions, but buying these flowers also encourages unethical and hazardous work conditions for flower pickers in greenhouses and fields.
Roses—a Valentine’s Day favourite—require a ton of water and land for growth and are exempt from many pesticide regulations because 1) they are non-edible and 2) they must look perfect for buyers. Relative to vegetables, fifty to one thousand times more chemicals are needed to deter rose pests and keep them blemish free. Yikes!
Potted plants are permanent, can be locally sourced, and they often do double duty as air purifiers. We suggest easy to care for plants like snake plants (removes benzene and formaldehyde from air), aloe vera (you can use the leaves’ gel for sunburns), and our personal favourite, Philodendron (beautiful in hanging planters).
If you really want to buy your loved one a bouquet, source your flowers from a local shop and ensure you’re selecting blooms that are in season and grown in your province.
Scrap the V-day card and write your favourite person a love letter
According to Hallmark, nearly 40 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged every year. That’s a lot of paper!
Our suggestion: upcycle. Use paper and materials that you already have at home to make your own card, or write a letter and roll it into a fancy scroll.
If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can find an old card deck (remember: missing or lost cards will only add charm!) and transform it into a Reasons I Love You deck. These decks are wonderful because you can make a deck for anyone you cherish in your life: your partner, kids, mom, dad, best friend, sibling, significant other…the list goes on!
Pick a farm-to-table restaurant that uses organic ingredients, or source your own picnic ingredients locally
Thinking of taking your loved one to their favourite restaurant? Be a locavore and spice up your outing by choosing a restaurant or eatery that sources their food locally, organically, or exclusively uses in-season ingredients. This improves your local economy, creates community, and allows farmers to keep more of their profit and grow larger varieties of produce that don’t have to survive overseas transport. Plus: it’s great to know where your food is coming from!
Looking for a budget-friendly option? Light some candles, bring your special person (or people!) to their favourite indoor spot, pick up a few package-free snacks, and buy local wine or beer to share. We don’t know about you…but picnicking will forever be romantic!
Don’t buy things—buy a shared experience or donate to your loved one’s favourite charity
Who loves having drawers and closets exploding with…well…things? Half of which you don’t even remember that you own?
We thought not! What your favourite person will forever remember are memories that you’ve created with them. Buy tickets to see their favourite band, purchase salsa dancing classes, or book an Airbnb and whisk them away on a weekend getaway or road trip. They’ll love the adventure!
As an alternative, you can donate to a charity supporting a cause they care about. The thought and effort you put into your charity selection will mean more to them than any material item could, whether you adopt a seal or fund a local homeless shelter on their behalf.