Want to do something special for someone you love this Valentine’s Day? Here are some lower waste alternatives to the classic Valentine’s Day lineup, rated by how low waste they are. You may notice there are only A and B options listed. We wouldn’t want your Valentine’s GPA to drop below a 3.0!
A: The OG DIY activity -- baking! Use organic ingredients from the bulk section (including chocolate chips) to make a decadent chocolate treat from scratch.
Not so fun fact: Did you know that 70% of the world’s chocolate comes from Ghana and the Ivory Coast? Unfortunately, the cocoa industries in these countries has been rife with dangerous and inhumane child labor and slavery practices, including the cocoa produced for Hershey, Mars, and Nestlé products. (FoodisPower.org) One way to make sure your chocolate fix is guilt-free? Stick to the fair trade stuff. It’s worth the extra dollar or two.
A-: How crafty are you? If you love whippin’ up a good craft, consider decorating your card. And if you’re unenthused by the construction paper mess you assembled for Valentines in kindergarten, level it up! You could even carve your own stamp for the occasion! Use recycled paper for the card or make an envelope out of pages from an old book. (Big ones like old atlases work great.)
B+: This is the perfect opportunity to go into one of those cute boutiques in your area and pick up a card made by a local press. Check the back to make sure it’s printed on recycled paper to support their sustainable efforts.
A-: Choose a potted plant that fits their vibe and capacity to keep a plant alive.
B-: Find a local florist who sources their flowers sustainably. Bouqs.com is a good resource for responsibly sourced flower delivery.
A: Get some of the jewelry your special someone already owns refinished so it can sparkle like new!
A: Find a local vintage jewelry shop or shop online for vintage jewelry. There’s so many beautiful pieces already made, just waiting for a body to adorn!
B-: If you’re going to be shipping your Valentine’s gift anyway, consider choosing from a jeweler that prioritizes ethical manufacturing. The Good Trade has a great list to choose from!
A+: It has to be said, the least wasteful way to do lingerie is to skip it altogether. As Reformation likes to say, “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option.” We have a feeling you won’t get any complaints!
B+: Find a local lingerie boutique like Lille in Portland. Have you noticed a theme here? Shopping local is great for your local economy and reduces carbon emissions from shipping and packaging.
B-: Find an online retailer like Azura Bay that curates a selection of lingerie in natural materials like organic cotton and sustainably sourced silk that can eventually biodegrade and are healthier for your body.
Other Gift Ideas
A: Donate to their favorite charity. I love this as an add-on to any gift year round. Pick an organization that supports a cause your loved one cares about. What a great way to show someone that you pay attention to their passions and want to support it!
A-: Gift an experience the two of you can do together -- support your local arts by going to a comedy club, play, dance performance, or concert, or even a trip! Or make them a mixtape! JK that would be cute, but a Spotify playlist will do.
B+: Some of you are so creative, you already have something up your sleeve. Handmade gifts are so special, especially if the process of making them brings you joy.
A+: At the end of the day, Valentine’s Day is really about reminding the people you love that you value them and reveling in the beauty of that connection. You don’t have to exchange any gifts to celebrate the day and each other. Reach out to your friends and family you don’t talk to often enough. Spend time with your significant other or your best friend undistracted by your phones. Be present in each other’s company, be truthful, be appreciative, and remember that each moment we have together is precious and beautiful and what life is all about.