Brits spend a staggering £650 million on Valentine’s Day each year. However, many of us have never stopped to think about the environmental cost.
This year, instead of following the crowd and rushing around for the usual overpriced gifts, why not make the decision to celebrate your love consciously. You could save a pound or two too.
Amongst the sea of red and pink, Rich Quelch, Global Head of Marketing at Lifestyle Packaging, gives top tips to go green on Valentine’s Day this year…
Write a love letter
Instead of making a last-minute dash to the shops for a generic Valentine’s Day card, why not put pen to paper and write a heartfelt handwritten letter to your loved one which won’t cost you anything and can be a keepsake for years to come…not ditched in the bin the next day.
Skip the flowers
A red rose bouquet has become a Valentine’s Day staple. But there’s a hidden environmental cost; at this time of year roses are likely to come from as far afield as South America.
Opt for a living plant instead which you can both cultivate indoors until the warmer months when it can be transferred into the garden.
Keep things sweet
Like flowers, cocoa comes from growers thousands of miles away, meaning a box of chocolates clocks up a large carbon footprint getting to you. For a sweet treat with a hit of nostalgia, buy a jar of your partner’s favourite childhood sweets.
If your significant other is a true chocoholic, buy locally made artisan chocolates which use fair-trade cocoa.
Use eco gift wrapping
Whatever you decide to give your loved one this year, think about how your gift is wrapped or packaged.
Wrapping presents in recycled brown paper, fabric cloths or reusing gift bags is a cheap and eco-friendly option. Avoid glitter and foil-covered paper at all costs as these do not biodegrade.
You could even look to purchase wicker baskets that can be used as decorative storage for years to come.
Grab an apron
Instead of dining out for the big night, which let’s face it can be cringey, surprise your partner with a home cooked meal.
Head down to your local farmers market, butcher or fishmonger and get their advice on what’s in season to help you create your menu. For dessert, turn up the heat and compete in a mini bake off.
Pop! Fizz, clink
Just like what we eat this Valentine’s Day, choose your tipple wisely.
If you’re looking to splash the cash, English sparkling wines are a great alternative to champagne with a smaller carbon footprint. The same too for locally produced gins which most supermarkets now stock.
You could also check out any local vineyards too and grab yourself a bottle or two for the special day.
Fancy a wickie?
The warm glow of candles can set the mood for your Valentine’s Day night-in but be careful. While they look harmless, many cheap candles use paraffin wax which gives off the toxic carcinogens benzene and toluene when burned.
Opt for candles using only natural waxes like soy, rapeseed, plant and beeswax, to make your romantic evening safe but satisfying.
Book a staycation
This year’s Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday; the perfect excuse you need to book a romantic weekend away.
There’s no need to hop on a plane, there’s plenty of amazing places to explore right here in the UK. When booking accommodation, check its eco credentials first. By staying at an independent hotel or B&B you’ll be supporting the local economy too rather than a global chain.
Support an environmental charity
If your significant other is an eco-warrior or animal lover, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to support a charity through a gift-giving scheme.
This could be sponsoring an endangered animal, planting new woodland for wildlife, becoming a member of a nature trust, allowing you to enjoy days out the whole year while protecting the environment.
By Rich Quelch, Global Head of Marketing, Lifestyle Packaging