• Tori Marshall

5 Ideas For A Low Waste Valentine's Day: Couples


Valentine's Day is almost here, and if you and your significant other celebrate, it can be both exciting and stressful! Add on the complication of trying to have a Valentine's Day that is low waste and sustainable, and it can be downright daunting. It's important to think about, though, as the consumerism of Valentine's Day can produce loads of waste. The National Retail Federation estimates that American consumers spend about $2.4 billion on candy alone! Add on the $2.3 billion on flowers and $1.3 billion on cards, and we are talking about a serious amount of holiday waste.


If you're planning on celebrating Valentine's Day this year, consider these tips to make it sweeter for all involved--including the earth.


1. Make treats instead of buying sweets. A lot of individually wrapped candies goes into $2.4 billion. Skip the novelty chocolates and instead make something from scratch. If not for your partner on Valentine's Day, then when? Here are some ideas:

  • Cake, cupcakes, cake pops--whatever you and your sweetheart prefer.

  • DIY chocolate bark made from bulk bin chocolate. Try this recipe for chocolate bark with a kick!

  • Amaretto truffles, with an optional dusting of powdered beet for that lovely deep red color.

  • Heart shaped cookies.

  • Panna cotta, or another custard.

  • Handmade peanut butter cups, complete with heart shape.

2. Give a plant instead of flowers. There are plants even for those lacking a green thumb--a Christmas cactus or a spring cactus are good bets, and you may even find some with flowers on them for the holiday! Giving seeds to be planted in the spring is another good idea, and provides another date come planting time.


3. Make your own valentine. My husband and I make a point to exchange love letters at Valentine's Day. We've done it since we started dating and it's one of my favorite traditions. It can be written on fancy stationery or plain notebook paper. Chances are your partner won't care about the presentation so much as the content.


If love letters aren't your thing, give a fun valentine instead! You could find a printable valentine online, or make one yourself. Bonus points for including one of these zero waste pickup lines. Here are some ideas on decorating your own valentine:

  • Repurpose old valentines you may have saved.

  • Use yarn or wool from your growing scrap end pile.

  • Cut out pictures from old magazines or books.

  • Make a stamp from a potato or a toilet paper roll.

  • Use up scrap construction paper.

  • If you're feeling really ambitious, make your own paper from your recycling!




4. Cook a meal together at home. Date night and dinner rolled into one! It's a classic for a reason--cooking together is way better than cooking alone, especially when it's for a holiday. Try one of these recipes for inspiration:

  • Beet risotto. Make sure not to use a candy stripe beet for this, or your risotto will look brown instead of red. (I speak from experience.)

  • Pink pasta. You can make a vegan beet alfredo, a beet pesto, beet gnocchi...are you sensing a theme? Beets make good Valentine's Day food.

  • A good steak or fillet of fish. Very elegant, and not too fussy.

  • French onion soup is a classic dish that feels fancy but can be made in a slow cooker.

  • Homemade Pizza. You can go the extra mile by make the pizza heart shaped, or by cutting out toppings into little hearts.

  • Fondue. Almost no cooking involved, and very fun.

  • Heart shaped hand pies. Go with a classic upper Midwest pasty of beef, rutabaga, potato, and carrot, or try something new like this filling of sweet potato, goat cheese, and sausage (I usually make this with vegan Italian sausage). To make this easier, you can make regular hand pies and cut out heart shaped vents.

5. Do something special together. Sounds obvious, right? But seriously, Valentine's Day is a wonderful excuse to connect with your partner. Take some time to do something out of the ordinary with them. If that means getting a sitter, there's no better time. Or make plans for when the kids are in bed. Here are some ideas:

  • Go on a hike. Yes, it's the middle of winter. Winter landscapes can be breathtaking, and now is the perfect time to view the ice caves in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

  • Watch a corny rom-com.

  • Have a spa date at home. There are lots of DIY recipes online for sugar scrubs, bath bombs, foot soaks, face masks, massage oil, you name it. Put on some relaxing music and just enjoy an evening together.

  • Enjoy a cheese board. Set out a couple of cheeses, some crackers and fruit, a bottle of wine, and some classic French music and you've got a little getaway.

  • Play a game. Video game, board game, puzzle, crossword--whatever floats your boat!

Whatever you do for Valentine's Day, be sure to show your love not only for your partner, but for the planet too!


Any ideas we missed? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page!