Love is in the air! But in the sea, there’s tons and tons (specifically up to 13 metric tons) of plastic. It’s an unfortunate circumstance–but one we can start remedying now. One way is by improving how we celebrate holidays, which usually have a massive environmental footprint. For example, Valentine’s Day can be the epitome of paper waste (think card and boxes of individually wrapped chocolate). To help you shop for your sweetie, gal pal or that someone you’ve been admiring from afar, we’ve put together a list of last minute waste-free gifts to make sure you’re showing the planet some love, too.
1. Life is like a box of chocolates… It’s a vessel of trash containing more trash? Not the sweetest sounding analogy, but considering how much waste we create on a daily basis and dump into our environment, it’s not far from the truth. For your sweetie with a sweet-tooth, a chocolate bar will do. Look for ethically and environmentally sourced bars from small chocolatiers with compostable packaging.
- Harper Macaw creates delectable treats from cacao sourced from sustainable agroforestry in source cocoa beans from Brazil’s Atlantic and Amazon rainforests through a partnership with the Serra Bonita Reserve. Bonus: their foil wrappers are actually made from compostable and biodegradable wood-pulp!
2. Roses are red, violets are blue… but the plastic around a store-bought bouquet looks an awful lot like a jellyfish to sea turtles, it’s true! Consider ditching the traditional bouquet and find a houseplant (the level of maintenance should be based on how green the recipient’s thumbs are!). But a green plant makes a much greener gift. As an added bonus, houseplants are the most eco-friendly air purifiers money can buy!
- Not sure what plant to buy? You can minimize this gift’s footprint by stopping by your local nursery, but if you don’t have one nearby, support women making waves in STEM by shopping small NY start-up the Sill for everything from air plants to ivies in locally made pots.
3. For the Valentine that really sucks… reusable straws! Our partner Lonely Whale has done an amazing job getting people, restaurants and companies around the globe to stop sucking. If your friend or significant other still sucks, help them break the habitat with some alternative straws. What could be more romantic than watching this video together while sharing one vegan shake with two bamboo straws?
4. Pamper your prince/princess…and your planet! Skip the plastic bottles of bubbles and look for package-free products. Even recycling can have a big impact and regrettably not every piece of plastic can be recycled everywhere. So when you can, look for items without wrappers or bottles such as solid shampoos and soaps.
- Check etsy for local artisans selling sustainably made bubble bars and bombs, or find your local Lush store where you can find everything from completely package-free products to already-wrapped gifts! As an added bonus, every piece of packaging you might encounter (even if you shop online and need your gift shipped) can be recycled (some you can even return to the store for recycling and get free products in return), reused or composted (starch-based packing peanuts!).
5. Your handsome devil deserves… a handsome devil! Adopt a devil and support the wildlife conservation efforts of our partner Devil Ark. Choose the Tasmanian Devil with the personality that best matches your Valentine’s and you’ll receive by email a photo of the devil, an info sheet about the devil, a certificate of adoption and a thank you letter for your support. A symbolic gift is quite possibly the most environmentally friendly one of all!