Our Best Tips to Love Your Significant Other and the Environment This Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be wasteful — check out our best tips for a low-impact day of love.

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Feb. 5 2024, Updated 12:37 p.m. ET

Person making Valentine's Day cards
Source: iStock

Whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day, Galentine's Day, or Single's Awareness Day this year, you're going to want to make sure all your lovin' is as low-impact as possible.

So skip the heart-shaped balloons, the synthetic teddy bears, and the plastic-packaged candy this Feb. 14, and instead follow our tips for having the most eco-friendly Valentine's Day possible.

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Buy Fair-Trade Chocolate

Whether you plan on lovingly feeding your bae chocolates or throwing a box of chocolate at your TV, you'll probably need some chocolate this Valentine's Day. While the cocoa industry can be controversial, there are a few tips that can help you make sure you're buying ethically-sourced chocolate.

Your best bet is looking for chocolate bars that are: made with 100 percent sustainable cocoa; certified fair trade; free of dairy products; free of palm oil; and packaged without any plastic. Click here for a list of chocolate companies that use ethically-sourced cocoa.

Eat at a Sustainable or Plant-Based Restaurant

If you don't have a restaurant reservation by now, it may be too late to nab one at your first choice spot. But if you don't mind eating at 10 p.m., do your research and see if there are any sustainable restaurants in your area. You may be pleasantly surprised to find local establishments that source produce from the local farmer's market, ones that compost their food scraps, and even ones that offer completely plant-based menus.

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Shop for Sustainable Alcohol

If you and your boo plan on celebrating V-Day with a bottle of bubbly (or any kind of alcohol), do a little research before the big day to get your buzz as sustainably as possible. (Plus, picking up champagne in advance is way more romantic than swinging by the liquor store after dinner.) Check out our guide on how to buy sustainable alcohol.

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Consider Vintage or Lab-Grown Diamonds

If you have the money to casually buy your valentine a piece of jewelry this year, consider opting for ethically-mined, lab-grown, vintage, or recycled diamonds (or any other precious stone!). Click here to read our explainer on why you should only be buying sustainable diamonds.

For more affordable jewelry options for Valentine's Day, click here for some of our favorite diamond alternatives.

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Buy Local Flowers or Make Your Own Floral Arrangement

Unfortunately, the floral industry can be quite wasteful, between the pesticides used to grow flowers, the emissions of shipping them, all the stems and leaves that florists cut off and throw into the trash, and the plastic used to wrap bouquets.

Do some research in your area to find a florist or farmer's market vendor who grows flowers locally or without pesticides, composts their floral waste, and tries to adhere to a low-impact business model. Check out our guide to sustainable flowers and alternatives.

Additionally, the company ReVased sells flower arrangements made from secondhand flowers leftover at events — you can make a one-time purchase or sign up for a subscription to receive one bouquet each month. The company currently only operates in the NYC, D.C., and Baltimore areas.

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Make Your Own Card and Gift Wrap

Valentine's Day cards and presents wrapped in recycled paper.
Source: iStock

If your partner cares about the Earth the same way you do, you may get an even bigger rush seeing the look on their face when you hand them a homemade card, or a gift wrapped in materials from around the house. Spend an extra few minutes using paper you already have to give cards a homemade and sentimental vibe, and instead of paying for wrapping paper (some of which is not recyclable), wrap gifts with a piece of fabric or yesterday's newspaper.

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Gift an Experience

Instead of a physical gift, consider gifting your significant other (or yourself!) an experience. Take them to a movie, a play, a concert, a museum, a cooking class, bowling, ice skating... the possibilities are endless.

This article, published on Feb. 11, 2020, has been updated.

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