Today’s blog was written by Recycling Programs intern, Kayla!
Valentine’s Day is a day to share love, romance, and affection. Whether it means spending time with a significant other, family member or group of friends, it’s a chance to celebrate what matters most in life: our connection with others. Traditional gifts of flowers, boxed chocolates, and jewelry are popular on Valentine’s Day, but they come at a significant environmental cost. Valentine’s Day generates a vast amount of CO2 emissions in the production, transportation, and disposal of romantic gifts. The pulp and paper industry is one of the largest contributors to air pollution, deforestation, and our overcrowded landfills. Disposable items such as candy wrappers, cardboard gift boxes, greeting cards, and wrapping paper add up fast and most of the waste ends up at local landfills.
So how can you celebrate while also showing some love for the environment? Here are 5 ways to celebrate a green Valentine’s Day this year.
Find a Romantic Viewpoint or New Sunset Spot.
Sometimes a shared moment in nature is the best kind of gift. Go to the beach, find a new hiking trail, walk along the harbor, picnic in the park…get outdoors and spend some quality time with your Valentine! For new outdoor options, check out secret spots in San Diego for inspiration.
Instead of giving a bouquet of flowers or the traditional red roses, change it up this year and buy a plant for your Valentine. Plants are beautiful, less pricey, and benefit the environment. Plant your new “love” plant together in your garden and watch it grow and blossom over time. This can be a lasting reminder of your relationship and love!
Cook a Romantic Homemade Dinner.
Valentine’s Day usually means reservations and crowds at your favorite dinner spots. You can avoid the stress and increase the fun by preparing a romantic dinner at home. Take this time to make that vegan recipe you’ve always wanted to try or prepare a favorite meal together. Couples who cook together, stay together.
When buying your ingredients, think local. Not only will your products be more fresh and tasty, but you will also be supporting your local businesses. Visit one of the many farmer’s markets around San Diego County for your ingredient needs. If possible, avoid packaging and make your meal vegetarian or vegan! This can help reduce landfill waste and lower your carbon footprint. We love these 12 Vegan Valentine’s Day Desserts from Minimalist Baker.
Create a Homemade Gift.
Sometimes finding the perfect gift on Valentine’s Day can be very difficult. Surprise your loved one with a homemade gift! Instead of buying something generic, show your Valentine how special they are to you. Craft a handwritten love letter or poem on recycled paper. Bake lavender cupcakes. Make this simple DIY lip balm in a reusable jar. Check out the I Love A Clean San Diego Pinterest for more ideas.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community! This Valentine’s Day, plan a volunteer day with your loved one. There are numerous options in every community–in fact, we have our annual Cupid’s Cleanup this Saturday at Bay City Brewing Co! This can be a way to meet new people, get some fresh air and make a difference in your community.
How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?