It’s February, and Valentine’s Day Will soon be upon us. We don’t really celebrate it at all anymore, other than maybe a nice meal and a film but we stopped buying gifts years ago.
That doesn’t mean I don’t notice what’s on offer in the shops (okay, maybe not this year, but in previous years) when February rolls around. I actually once saw a gift in The Pound Shop, If I remember correctly, it was an “I got you nothing”type gift, and it was basically air wrapped in plastic. I was outraged. Much like any other holiday, Valentine’s Day has it’s own impacts. Many of the issues are similar for each holiday – too much plastic, too much food waste, too many unnecessary gifts – but each one certainly seems to come with its own individual problem that needs to be tackled.
There statistics on Valentine’s Day as readily available as the previous celebrations I’ve researched, and so I don’t feel that this post is as informative, but I think we can all take away the same sort of message, which I’ll address at the end.
What sort of impact does Valentine’s Day have on the environment?
Roses – Many of the roses that are sent will have been grown, unethically, abroad and shipped to the UK. Why not opt for a bouqet of seasonal flowers, and be sure ti check out how eco-friendly the florist you pick is! If you need to send them via post, I would reccomend using someone like Wild & Bloom who use minimal packaging! An even better alternative though would be to buy a house plant, garden plant or perhaps a fruit tree for the garden! You could also donate a tree in someone’s name, which I did through The National Trust as a gift to my husband from our son one year.
Cards – Sending one card produces around 140kg of Cabron Dioxide, and around 12 million people send cards for Valentine’s Day alone. Many of these cards aren’t recyclable, and many of them will have glitter on them which is a micro-plastic. You could instead opt for making your own card, or buying them locally made on seeded or compostable paper. Of course, a card isn’t needed, you can always just tell someone that you love them, by saying it.
Chocolate – We all know that I love an ethical chocolate company. Many of the chocolates we buy off the shelves at the supermarket, or send via post from various different companies, are made using palm oil, and child labor and slave labor. They also often come with excessive plastic packaging. Many independent chocolate makers are using compostable packaging, no plastic, and no palm oil. I cannot recommend Divine and Tony’s Chocoloneley enough!
I’ve split this post up into what I feel are three biggest issues, but this doesn’t take into account what my husband would call plastic tat bought for no reason at all, that will often just go in the bin; food waste from excess food being bought in for restarants and takeaways; perfumes and jewlery that are often unethically made, and filled with chemicals and the extra resources used to power places that may otherwise be closed or not running at full power the rest of the year.
The main take away from this post, and it’s one we should have in the forefront of our minds at all times, is to buy consciously. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day, I’m not preaching the whole “you don’t need one day of the year to tell someone you love them” (which is true, but it’s nice to set time aside to focus on that love) but think before you buy. Is it ethically made? Is it made out of plastic? Is it useful/long lasting? Is it needed? Is it wasteful? These changes are so important for the planet!