Say “Valentine’s Day” and the immediate association is one of disposable delights: The flowers. The card. The candy. Surely there’s a better way to show you care — one that’s not so wasteful (not to mention, expensive). Of course, it’s the thought that counts. But there’s the afterthought to consider as well. Packaging that ends up in landfills, chocolate that goes uneaten for months, flowers that wilt after a few days next to the radiator. What to do when you love your partner and Mother Earth?
Easy: Take one (or three) of these six gift ideas for Valentine’s Day that’s far from wasteful.
Enroll in a fun subscription that you both can use
Dinner and a movie is always a great idea. So why not keep them coming with a renewable subscription to both?
If you’re not already signed up for your local CSA box, now’s a good excuse to do so. For the time-pressed culinarian, The Good Trade recommends Sun Basket and Green Chef as top meal-plan delivery services. Both companies strive to source sustainably from their farmers, and offer fully-recyclable packaging in their boxes.
Another option? Surprise your loved one with a year-long membership to your local cinema or museum. You’ll have plenty of dates in the books, while also supporting arts in your hometown.
Give the gift of new experiences
Studies show spending money on experiences, rather than material goods, makes us happier in the long run.
One experience sure to please is a wine tasting. Whether it’s straight-up reds and whites or includes cheese pairings, chances are you’ll come away with new favorites. (Not to mention, tons of impressive knowledge.
Or get more hands-on and sign up for a pottery or painting class. Creating something that’s beautiful, useful, and will remind you for years to come of your special date? Talk about a win.
A Sweet Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day: Unwrap some chocolate alternatives
Does your sweetie have a sweet tooth? Think outside the bar with alternative indulgences. You’re probably already used to scouring the bulk aisle for mung beans and dried apricots. That same section in the grocery store is often home to sweets like peanut butter cups and chocolate chips that you can purchase sans packaging.
Want to take it to the next level? Customize the candy with a special message, like craft blogger Jessica Anne did. (Our personal favorite? “You’re the raisin I smile.”)
For the tea lover, Arbor Teas makes a matcha-infused, dark chocolate confection in a compostable wrapper. Herb + Nectar is a conscious, small-batch apothecary + pop-up tea bar that specializes in reiki-infused organic teas, seasonal offerings, and apothecary goods. Another mouth-watering choice? Hnina Gourmet, who strives to package with 100% biodegradable and recyclable craft paper. Oh, and did somebody say truffles? Because the delicious morsels from AlterEco come in no fewer than five flavors. And their packaging is all totally compostable.
If you want to try making minimal-waste sweets yourself, have a blast with ganache via this recipe from Going Zero Waste.
Embrace the great outdoors (or the great indoors)
What’s more romantic than alfresco? If you said alfredo, you’re in luck — you can combine both with a picnic. That is, if you’re blessed with year-round sunshine (we’re looking at you, California).
If you’re facing a colder front, though, you could recreate the elements of a picnic… indoors. At the very least, go for the sentiment: No television or distractions. Just you, your loved one, a throw, some crudites, and a bottle of crisp rosé.
Pour your heart into a letter
Roses are red, violets are blue, and we’re betting this is one of the sweetest gifts you could do.
You don’t have to be a bard to pen a beautiful sentiment for your special someone. A handwritten note about your fondest memories — like, say, a retelling of your first date — is one thing that won’t go straight in the trash can.
Reconsider that conventional bouquet
We feel ya. Which is why we’re here to suggest you gift your sweetheart a more permanent bloom — like a plant. Services like The Sill will deliver plants direct to your door. Nothing says “I love you” like their Hoya Heart trio
If you’re really craving a fresh bouquet (in the depths of winter, we can’t say we blame you), you could always pick up what’s locally in season from your neighborhood farmers market. Other ethical options include Bouqs, a field-to-door delivery service that works exclusively with sustainable farmers.
One final note before you celebrate this special day: There’s always the option of gifting Plaine Products! Find out how to minimize the impact of your bathroom products — without sacrificing high quality — here.
We hope these tips help you have a wonderful Valentine’s, Galentine’s, or Self-Appreciation Day. And if you do choose to gift something physical, here are four ideas on how to wrap with less waste.
This is a guest post from MakeSpace, an affordable, full-service alternative to self-storage. They help customers make space for more love in their lives in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D. C., and Chicago.