How To Plan A Zero Waste Valentine’s Day

It’s that time again…

Not content to let a single month pass without a commercialized holiday, the Hallmark industrial complex has given us Valentine’s Day, a time when men and women alike are somehow guilted into purchasing an alarming amount of flowers, chocolates and jewelry for their loved ones.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with surprising your sweetie with an unexpected expression of affection. It’s just the fake, plastic, pink and red crap that gets my blood boiling. Now that Valentine’s Day has been co-opted by consumerism, it’s more ugly than sweet. The National Retail Federation tells us that the average person shells out $116.21 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise. Insanity! And how much of that stuff do you think ends up in the trash can before Valentine’s Day rolls around again? Lots.

To have a Valentine’s Day that’s more full of love than waste takes a little creativity and planning, but it’s not hard. Taking the time to think about the impact of your Valentine’s celebrations is guaranteed to result in genuine emotion, precious memories and the satisfaction that you’ve created a special day without harming the planet. Here are some ideas to get you started!

DIY Cards & Gifts

Really want to wow your Valentine? Make them a card instead of just picking one up at the store. Don’t worry if you’re not crafty or a poet. Almost any material can be upcycled into an adorable Valentine. All you need is scissors, some paste, and the ability to trace a heart. Check out Inhabitots’ wow-worthy DIY Valentine ideas made out of everything from playing cards to vegetable scraps! And why stop at the card? Check out 5 Handmade Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day and 10 Handmade Valentine’s Gifts for Him (guys are always harder).

And if you just don’t have the time for DIY anything, an e-card can be a great way to send a quick “I’m thinking of you” note without a single shred of wasted paper. Check out Care2′s entire collection of Valentine’s Day ecards and poems for a one-click solution.

>>Up Next: Make A Memory

Make A Memory

Instead of just buying another “thing” this Valentine’s Day, why not create a memory that your sweetie will hold dear forever? You may not have the money for an out of town getaway, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share an unforgettable adventure. Peer-to-peer services like VayableGidsy, Guidehop and Sidetour allow you to connect with people who can act as your “tour guide” for a new experience right in your hometown. Think about a beer or wine tasting, a private chocolate making class, a midnight street food crawl, or a sunset sail on the river. All you need is a camera and a sense of adventure.

Host A ‘You Are Loved’ Potluck

Valentine’s Day is usually a rough time for those without a significant other. But why? The idea that this holiday is only about romantic love is one born in the commercial world. Love is universal. We love our friends, family, neighbors and social networks. Our annual celebration of love should be just as inclusive.

Those with a sense of humor have spread the idea of “singles’ dinners” on Valentine’s but why stop there? Why not host an “everyone’s invited” party and indulge with everyone you care about, dates not required? Plan the dinner potluck style and have each guest bring the food that most embodies “love” or “passion.” Play board games or watch a few romantic comedies we all love to hate! Top the event off with organic Valentine’s Day cocktails and send everyone home with some homemade vegan truffles.

Are you planning a zero-waste Valentine’s Day? Share your ideas for low-impact fun in the comments!

Related Reading:

How To Have An Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day Challenge: Drink Responsibly

Target Sells “Stalker” Valentine’s Day Card

Images via Thinkstock


Freya H.
Freya H1 years ago

My boo and I don't need a special day to celebrate our love! No flowers, no chocolate, no cards - not even e-cards. We will not join in this consumerist excess.

Trish K.
Trish K1 years ago

Love the article about "do it yourself - so why not do this every month because there is always a holiday or birthday and I won't buy into this game anymore. Like a lot of people my age I forget that I can do it myself until, like today, It's to late. Surprise us with Organic do it ourselves cards before the day arrives. Maybe after a year we will be doing it on our own when we see a pretty piece of paper - ribbon or old jewelry and sparkly things loose in this world
Thank you so much for doing all you do & Happy Valentines Day

Olivia Lim
Olivia Lim3 years ago

My church volunteered at an emergency shelter on Valentine's Day, it was lots of fun. Valentine's Day of Compassion

Elisa F.
Elisa F3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Kate S.
Kate S4 years ago

very nice ideas

Elizabeth O.
Elizabeth O4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Carole K.
Carole K4 years ago

Nice valentine piece w/ links. I'm basically marking it for retrieval for next year. Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday! How can one not like a day that's designated for celebration of Universal love? Would have to be hard hearted..... LOL!

Valerie A.
Valerie A4 years ago


pranoti w.


Alison A.
Alison A4 years ago

Thanks for posting.