Is there such a thing as an environmentally friendly Valentine’s Day?

31 Jan 2024
4 min read
Valentine's day marked on the calendar with a heart

The shops are adorned with red hearts, florists are heaving with red roses and pubs and restaurants across the country are advertising special Valentine’s drinks and set menus. But this year, Brits are swapping ‘out’ for ‘in and are spending less than ever on love.

Hands holding wooden Valentine's hearts

From ‘no present pacts’ to people opting for nights in, the language of love might be very much alive this February 14th but partners across the country are turning their back on spending and focussing on showing their love instead.

Love the environment

However you choose to celebrate, you can do it in an environmentally friendly way.

The majority of people tend to fall into one of two categories when it comes to Valentine’s Day. It’s either something you celebrate a lot and go big or – like most married couples I know – it might be a bottle of wine and a take away on the sofa.

The good news is though however you choose to celebrate it, you can do it in an environmentally friendly way. Not many of us think about the planet when it comes to showing love for the person who lights up your world but you don’t have to sacrifice the intention to take care of the world we live in…

Ditch the roses

There are purchases that only really happen around February 14th that tend not to happen the rest of the year. The UKs penchant for red roses for example. The florists and supermarkets are filled with them in February whereas the rest of the year there are bright arrays of different coloured blooms that don’t have such big CO2 emissions attached to them.

Britons buy around 8 million red roses in February. That’s around 570 tonnes with many coming by airplane from Africa.

Cyclamen flowers growing in a pot

These contribute to a mammoth carbon dump of 32kg of carbon dioxide per bunch.

According to SSAW (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) Collective – a community of chefs, florists and growers, a bouquet of 15 British flowers produces only 1.7kg of carbon emissions, 95 per cent less so why not buy local instead? Find your local florist and ask where their flowers and blooms come from – they’ll likely be able to help you make an environmentally friendly choice.

But it’s not just CO2 to take into account when it comes to the iconic bright red blooms either, it takes 120 litres of water to grow 12 roses so they’re not a particularly environmentally friendly option on any count.

If you’re intent on roses though, why not buy a bush you can keep in a pot or plant in the garden? That way, your outlay will keep giving you a return annually plus you’ll be inviting pollinating insects into your garden too.

Buy Fairtrade chocolates

Unfortunately, when it comes to water consumption, roses aren’t even the biggest Valentine’s culprit. It takes a staggering 1,700 litres of water to make just 100g of chocolate – which is worth considering before you opt for the biggest box in the shop.

Consider Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade labels to share the love for the planet as well as your other half.

You could even decide to go homemade and make them biscuits instead of opting for chocolates? Or think about going retro and getting them some sweets instead of chocolates.

Go green with lingerie

If you’ve got your eye on lingerie for your loved one, shop around. It’s really easy to make environmental choices and opt for ways to help the planet while also getting some really stunning choices.

Opt for brands that use organic fabrics so they can be recycled. There are also companies that use surplus fabric to make their lingerie. UK brand Fruity Booty do small lingerie runs made entirely from surplus fabrics which include the elastics. Not only are they a great planet friendly option but they’re beautiful too and will be a very welcome gift. They also have a zero single use plastic policy in their supply chain too so they’re not just greenwashing with the end of the production line.

Underwear brand Parade make their lingerie from recycled yarns and ship their items in compostable packaging made from 100 percent corn starch.

Paper origami hearts

Think long term

February 14th doesn’t have to be about spending a small fortune either – why not swap a bouquet for a plant that’ll live for many more Valentine’s Day’s to come? Swap dinner out for a home cooked meal with ingredients from your local market or farm shop to support local farmers and producers. Or make a cake you can both enjoy together and consider making your own paper bouquet of roses instead of buying them, YouTube has plenty of tutorials for origami flowers that’ll last way longer than the type you put in water.

No matter what your loved one is into, there are ways to mark Valentine’s Day and make it special without costing yourself – or the planet.

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