Tips to celebrate Valentine’s Day sustainably this year


Environmental Fridays

Kelly Walker

It’s that time of year again. The heart-shaped chocolate boxes, bouquets of flowers and endless supply of cheesy cards in every store never fail to remind us that Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching. Whether you plan to spend it with a special someone, a group of friends, or (if you’re like me) your dog, here are some ideas for ways to spend the day of love in a sustainable way.

First, I’ve compiled some of my favorite classic Valentine’s Day traditions that just happen to be sustainable.

  1. Fancy dinner: If Valentine’s Day is your excuse to dress to the nines, treat yourself to a nice meal at a swanky restaurant. More than likely, the restaurant won’t use any disposable plates, cups, or silverware and they’ll even use cloth napkins. 
  2. Movie date: Enjoy a romantic or funny movie to lighten your spirits this Valentine’s Day! (Pro tip: Sneak in some snacks to save money and avoid excess packaging).
  3. Schedule a wine tasting: Valentine’s Day is a great reason to finally taste some wine like a true adult.

Next, let’s take a look at some ideas for all you homebodies looking for some rest this Valentine’s Day. 

  1. Home-cooked meal: Take some time to really enjoy the process and yummy result of a meal made from scratch – a novel concept in the life of a college student.  This could also be your chance to try purchasing the ingredients in bulk
  2. Home-theater: Set up a cozy home theater and relax. Consider channeling your inner child and set up a fort made of pillows and blankets. You could even create some warm lighting with stringed lights and salt lamps while you enjoy a movie on your own TV!
  3. Game night: Play a board game or work through a puzzle with your guy or gal. If you’re spending the day with friends, gather them at home for a romantic-themed game night, complete with bulk chocolates and wine in fancy glasses.

If you’re wanting to be a little more active or adventurous this Valentine’s Day, here are some ideas for you:

  1. Visit a museum: Finally check out that museum you’ve never gotten around to visiting. I personally recommend the 21c Museum Hotel.
  2. Take a hike: Enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of nature with someone you love. There’s nothing quite like getting your endorphins up during a forest-bathing session.
  3. Play a sport: If you’re really into being active, consider playing a friendly game of soccer or basketball with a loved one. Take it a step further, and plan a gym-date to get your exercise routine in-check.

Overall, it’s not difficult to avoid waste on Valentine’s Day if you choose to value quality time and experiences over materialistic gifts. However, I’ll admit that I love a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift as much as the next person. Consider avoiding the excess consumeristic waste that this holiday can easily become all about, and opt for homemade cards, candy from the bulk section of the grocery, and personalized gifts.  Not only will your Valentine’s Day be more sustainable, but it will likely be more thoughtful and fulfilling without the pre-made cards and chocolate boxes that get boring fast.