Valentine’s Day is a very consumer-driven holiday but that does not mean you can’t still celebrate the day and be more conscious and concerned about your single-use plastic and styrofoam consumption while still spreading love and joy. There are many ways to celebrate the day while remaining sustainable and giving gifts that do not require any waste or single-use plastics. Many Valentine’s Day items and trinkets sold in stores for Valentine’s Day contain plastic packaging, are laminated in plastic, are not recyclable or are thrown away gifts that will be tossed within weeks or months of the day. Considering all of this, we’ve come up with a list of ways to have a more sustainable Valentine’s Day and to reduce single-use plastic and foam. If you have kids at home, many of these can be a great way to have them involved in the process while teaching them ways to make conscious choices.

The best gifts come from the heart – after all, they say that it is the thought that counts. When they are hand-made or sustainable, they will be that much more meaningful and likely to be remembered. Make, bake, or craft a gift from your heart or if you must purchase a present, find brands that are already using sustainable 100% recycled packaging. Whichever presents you choose, these ideas will add a touch of romance while being more green this year.

Skip the Store-Bought Card

Many cards in the grocery store or pharmacy are often laminated in plastic or contain glitter and these are not recyclable. So grab your paper, pens, and markers and create your own! Adopt the art form of a handwritten love note. This is sure to impress your friend or loved one all while creating a special plastic-free card that is likely to be 100% recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable.

Create your Own Decorations

Like cards, many store-bought decorations – balloons, banners, and table cloths, contain plastic and are not recyclable. The best way to spruce up your space for the big day is to again create your own! Grab a paper and cut out hearts, attach them to a string for a bunting banner to hang around your window or mantel. You can also craft your own table cloth. Thrift a white piece of fabric and use heart-shaped stamps and fabric paint to place the hearts in a pattern across the fabric. Single-use plastic tablecloths are wasteful and this homemade one can be saved and used for years to come.

Bake Up Something Sweet

Instead of purchasing store-bought desserts, there is nothing sweeter than baking up your loved ones, friends, or classmates some homemade cupcakes or cookies! Purchase your ingredients in bulk (where you can bring your own refillable jars) or find products in recycled paper packaging. Make sure you purchase your eggs in egg cartons that are 100% recycled paper. When gifting cupcakes or cookies, package them in craft paper bags or cardboard boxes without plastic.

Gift a Living Houseplant

Often when we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of cut flowers or roses. But let’s be honest, those don’t last long and die out. Plus they often come in plastic-lined paper or wrap. A living plant like a succulent can be a great alternative to flowers, especially if the recipient already has a green thumb! You can also find potted floral options like orchids that will live longer than cut flowers.

Skip the Wrapping Paper

Did you know that most wrapping paper can’t be recycled? It’s often lined or laminated with plastic, can contain glitter or unfamiliar inks that can’t be disposed of properly. Instead of commercial paper, try recycled paper or craft paper and use natural string like hemp to wrap around the outside. Alternatively, you could also wrap with scarves, which becomes a part of the gift.

Make Breakfast Together

There is no other way to a person’s heart than with food! Start your Valentine’s Day in the kitchen and satisfy your cravings. Cook up a breakfast treat – eggs, pancakes or waffles, cinnamon rolls, fruits and yogurt. When doing your grocery shopping for your romantic morning, look for food in 100% recycled paper packaging like eggs in paper egg cartons. Top it off with mimosas with champagne and orange juice.

Up Your Skills

The best and most memorable way to spend the day together is by giving an experience gift. Try taking a cooking class together, bake something with each other, try a new sport like tennis or partner yoga. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not take an improv class or try karaoke at home! An experience gift does not require you to purchase any physical items and therefore eliminates any plastic or foam packaging completely.

Whatever you decide to gift your special someone this Valentine’s Day, reduce your plastic and foam packaging when searching for the perfect present. You can even bring the gift to your loved one in a cute and fashionable reusable shopping bag that they can reuse over and over again. Feel good spreading the love this Valentine’s Day with these sustainable ideas that also share the love with the environment by reducing single-use plastic and styrofoam.

Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day, plastic-free? Share how you’re celebrating with us on Instagram @ditchplasticpackaging or Facebook and tag your photos with #ditchplasticpackaging.