As Valentine's day approaches, the debate about purchasing gifts or not purchasing gifts crosses almost everyone's mind. Did you know that each year, 36 million heart-shaped boxes, 180 million cards, 198 million roses are gifted within the United States? Another interesting fact, 881 thousand sparkling wine bottles are consumed during Valentine's Day.
The worst part of it all? Most of these items are non-recyclable. They come wrapped in plastic, decorated in glitter, bows, and glue, all of which make them destined for the landfill.
If they are recyclable, like the wine bottles, many towns are not fully recycling glass bottles anymore. Out of the 100 million metric tons of glass produced each year, only 33% of it gets recycled within the United States.
So what can you do? When you are faced with these kinds of obstacles, it is best to shop locally as much as you possibly can.
Read our guide below to find out how you can have a zero waste Valentine's Day - Vermont edition.
ZERO WASTE VALENTINE'S DAY FOOD
Live Forever Foods
Don't feel like cooking dinner on Valentine's Day? No problem. Check out Live Forever Foods and have delicious meals pre-made for you in reusable containers. Live Forever Foods makes dairy, soy, gluten, and refined oil/sugar-free meals that will satisfy anyone's tastebuds.
Some of our favorites are their pasta dishes, bisques, veggie burgers, kale salads, cashew cheeze, chia pudding, bliss bites, and granolas. In all honesty, you won't be disappointed with any of their offers.
Are you looking to go on a COVID-friendly adventure with your loved one? Look no further than Adventure Dinners by Sas Stewart. Adventure Dinners are speakeasy cocktail dinners in unexpected locations around Vermont. Locations get sent to you 24 hours before the adventure to add some extra suspense.
These adventures typically sell out FAST due to high demand, which is why they now offer rentals for cross country skis and snowshoes. This Valentine's Day, order some of the tasty sweets made by local bakers and make your own adventure with your loved one, exploring the backcountry of the beautiful green mountains together.
Want to cook for your loved one this Valentine's Day? Consider making that meal made from locally sourced food. Not only will you impress your partner with your cooking skills, but you will also be supporting local farmers. Head to your nearest co-op where they have a wide variety of local farm options available. Better yet, buy directly from the farm if you have the ability to do so.
Don't know where your nearest co-op is? Check out this website.
Don't know what to cook? Head to this website to get some ideas!
ZERO WASTE VALENTINE'S DAY GIFTS
How can you not add to the 180 million cards that are sent to the landfill every year? Save yourself some money and a trip to the store, by making your own cards out of up-cycled or fully compostable and recyclable material.
Ditch the stuff that makes cards non-compostable, like glitter, glue, paint, and ribbons. Instead, get creative with natural add ons like flowers and dried citrus tied onto the card with compostable twine. This way, your card is fully compostable!
Don't have time to make your own cards? Buy homemade or plantable cards made of seed paper through local shops or online stores from local makers on sites like Etsy. Be sure to ask them not to wrap the cards in plastic.
* The Bernie card can be found here.
Gifting chocolate is one of the most common gifts to receive for Valentine's Day, but all those cute, fancy boxes are non-recyclable. Unfortunately, there aren't too many recyclable options out there. In this situation, it is best to buy your chocolate locally.
Some of our favorite places are Lake Champlain Chocolates, Nu Chocolate, Snowflake Chocolates, and Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. Of course, if you have access to get to the store (and feel safe doing so,) you can make your own variety pack and have them put the chocolates in a paper bag. Once you get home, make your own gift box out of recyclable material.
If you're feeling a bit adventurous and want to make your own chocolate treats, head to the bulk section of your co-op to gather all of the ingredients. Here is one of our favorite recipes for homemade chocolate bark!
Are you looking to upgrade your bedroom situation? Our bed frames are sourced from sustainable wood grown in the United States that are built to last for generations. Wood is known as a renewable resource, making this bedframe uber eco-friendly. Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving.
In addition to them being sustainable, they are made with a sturdy platform, making it so you don't need to purchase a box spring. Talk about a zero-waste gift.
Plus by purchasing from us, you help support Vermont craftspeople, American economies, and preserve wildlife habitat. To date, we have helped support 26 non-profits and plant over 71,000 trees.
ZERO WASTE VALENTINE'S DAY DECORE
Turn the lights down low and save on your energy bill by lighting some candles to set the mood for your valentine. Candles are a great way to save on electricity while also providing no waste. Lunaroma candles are made of 100% non-GMO Soy Wax, Hemp and Cotton wicks and pure Essential Oils and Absolutes and contain no synthetic fragrances or petroleum additives.
Most candles contain palm oil, which adds to deforestation within the Amazon rainforest. 25% of Indonesia’s rainforests have been clear cut to put in palm oil plantations. During this process, the forests are slashed and burned, releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and leaving many animals, especially endangered species, like orangutans, without a home.
By supporting brands like Lunaroma, you are helping conserve the amazon rainforest and promote biodiversity.
Chances are, you are probably going to be adding some flowers into your valentine's day decor. Although roses look beautiful and smell great, they have a pretty substantial carbon footprint. In the United States, 80 percent of our flowers for bouqets come from Columbia and only last for a week or so.
Switch it up this year by gifting a live plant that will last for months and filter the air you breathe. Head to your local greenhouse nursery and pick up a plant to use as a centerpiece for dinner. One of our local favorites is Sam Mazza's in Colchester.
If you are purchasing a bouquet of flowers, be sure to compost the flowers afterward or repurpose them by drying out the pedals. Pedals are great to use for baths, rose water, decorations, add them into candles, or pressing them into a canvas. and
Bonus tip: If you are looking to have flowers to gift to your loved one all year long, look into flowers CSA's (community supported agriculture) like June Farm and Rock Meadow Farm.
Skip the typical routine of 'Netflix and chill' by turning off the TV and instead, put music on in the background. Notably, you will be saving electricity and welcoming more space for conversations and maybe even some dancing. When's the last time you've danced in your living room together?
Plus, making them a homemade playlist filled with songs that remind you of them, will give you some extra brownie points.
We hope you enjoyed our Vermont guide for a zero waste Valentine's Day. Let us know what you are doing to make your Valentine's Day more waste free!