As we all know, February is famous for being a time that we celebrate love. Nowadays we aren’t just celebrating the love of a partner but also that of our friends. Galentines, Palentines and of course, self love are now all promoted around the 14th. With all of this love in the air, it is hard not to notice all of the unnecessary extras that are piling up year after year. For someone who notices impulse buying and waste, Valentines is the perfect example of a holiday that can really feel overwhelming. For those of us who love love but hate waste, here is some simple ideas to help you on your way to a sustainable Valentines Day.
FORGET THE HEART SHAPED TEDDIES!
This is one easy step to take, I’m not just talking about the teddy bears but all of the heart themed nick-nacks that are put to one side or worse, thrown away after a few days. Instead, if you choose to buy gifts ask your loved one what they really need. If you can, choose to support Irish businesses and buy quality, useful gifts that your special someone will really enjoy.
Instead of buying mass produced cards that are usually covered in glitter (AKA micro plastics!) try making your own cards. Share an inside joke or use a cute photo and write your love note on the back. Cards like these are ones that will genuinely be appreciated and put a big smile on their face! If this is too time consuming and you still want a traditional card, there are plenty of Irish designers that print beautiful cards on recycled paper.
RETHINK THE FLOWERS
Instead of buying flowers that have clocked up a hefty amount of air miles and are wrapped in excessive amounts of plastic, why not opt to support an Irish flower farmer? Many flower farmers move towards dried flower bouquets this time of year. These bouquets usually come wrapped in paper and will last between 1 and 3 years!! If these are hard to find, a nice house plant also makes for a thoughtful gift.
EAT OUT OR HOMECOOK
For me, nothing says I love you like a home cooked meal. It’s even better if source your ingredients from your local fruit and veg shop and if you’re not opting for a plant based meal make sure you support your local butcher too! If that seems like a daunting task, takeaways are lovely for a cosy night in but they can create a lot of waste too. To skip all the extra packaging treat yourselves to a night out and sit in at a restaurant you haven’t tried yet.
Chocolate is always a safe bet. But when buying chocolate there is still important things to consider. As well as making sure the packaging is at least recyclable, it is also important to ensure the tasty treat is fair-trade. Many Irish chocolatiers are making the most delicious high quality chocolate that you won’t have to feel guilty for digging into!
GAIN NEW EXPERIENCES
This one is my favourite! I always say “life is for living” and there is nothing better than experiencing new things. This option doesn’t have to break the bank. Something as simple as heading for a walk in a new place and having a hot chocolate (in your trusty keep cup of course!) can be the most romantic date. If you can’t take off into the wind on Valentine’s Day itself, write down your plans and set a date you can commit to in the near future. Sharing new experiences together is a sure fire way to keep the spark in your relationship and getting out in the great outdoors is also a great act of self love!