Top Tips on how to be Sustainable this Valentine’s Day

If hand-woven wool blankets and sustainable jewelry aren’t an option this Valentine’s Day, there’s still a world of ethical choice out there from which to choose. We can show our love for both our partners and the planet, creating meaningful memories that will last a lifetime.

Opting for a Green Valentine’s Day is no longer the nightmare it used to be. Organically grown flowers or plants, biodynamic wines and cards made from recycled paper are all there for the taking. These days, with awareness of the impact of climate change not just on the environment but on our lives at the highest level it has ever been, most of us are now more than happy to swap the pink plastic for ethically sourced.

The tradition of Valentine’s Day has changed. Celebrate love and companionship in a way that respects the environment and helps guarantee a clean and safe world for future generations to come.  In the past two decades, Valentine’s Day has morphed into a target-driven marketer’s dream to both win hearts and wallets. While all of that is great for the retail sector and economies for the Irish and wider – in general, it’s not such good news for the environment. So, as we gear up for this heart-filled extravaganza, let’s dive into how Valentine’s Day can leave a not-so-rosy mark on the planet, and how businesses can join the sustainability bandwagon.

Heavily packaged products, glitz-covered cards and imported flowers sends our carbon footprint sky rocketing. In fact, it has been calculated that the one billion shop-bought cards alone significantly contribute to global carbon emissions. Each year, we spend a fortune on artistically wrapped beauty sets made up of cosmetics and perfumes. Not only are the emissions from artificially created scents and lotions bad for air quality, but the amount of plastic also involved in creatively covering these is enough to lay a path from Clontarf to Clifden.

Skip the plastic-packaged goods, long-haul flights for a romantic break and dozen Dutch blooms and instead Shop locally, choose ethically sourced products and turn the lights down to save energy.

“Say it with flowers.” Just don’t forget to compost them!

Avoid single-use flowers for a ‘rose-mantic’ plant: if you like to “say it with flowers”, don’t forget to compost them, look for locally grown, organic flowers or consider potted plants that can be enjoyed for much longer than a bouquet.


For the sweet-toothed, opt for Fair Trade or plant-based – there’s such a huge variety of quality vegan chocolates out there you’ll be spoilt for choice;


Eat local, or even better, CYO: shop local and cook your own, choosing organic ingredients and biodynamic wine where practicable, setting the scene with ethically-made candles (beeswax, rapeseed, recycled or blended wax) and freshly-cut homegrown or re-usable dried flowers.


Reduce waste: Choose reusable tableware, cloth napkins, and glassware for your Valentine’s Day celebrations.


Cards: Those glittery, oversized cards may look cute, but they’re usually made from virgin paper and coated in non-biodegradable glitter. Instead, get crafty and if your kids want to get involved, get them to make home-made cards using recycled materials or send digital to save trees and reduce waste, using photos can add that personal touch;


Date ideas: While those in warmer climates are lucky enough to be able to choose outdoor romantic activities like beach picnics and forest walks, we can still wrap up and bring the biodynamic bubbly to the local park or back garden and make it a date with star-gazing or movie night.


Planning a night or two away? Keep it in-country and choose a luxury spa retreat that’s a short drive away or on a train/bus route. There are so many Irish hotels offering mid-winter, mid-week breaks that you’ll be sure to find something that will impress whilst meeting your budget;


Buying a gift: if your loved one is green-centric, then choosing items made from sustainable materials like organic cotton, linen and wool, lyocell and modal will hit all the right notes. Consider wrapping them in recycled paper or fabric gift wraps that can be reused or recycled.

Choose sustainable brands – there are hundreds out there – and where possible, shop in-store to cut down on those delivery van emissions.


Spread Love to the Community: Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love—it’s also an opportunity to spread love and kindness to those in need. Consider donating to environmental organisations or volunteering together for a local cleanup or conservation project. You can also support small businesses who prioritise sustainability in their practices.

In conclusion, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a one-way ticket to environmental disaster. By making small changes to our traditions and encouraging businesses and people to embrace sustainability, we can spread love without leaving a trail of heart-shaped destruction in our wake. There are many options out there for those of us for whom the environment and health and wellbeing of this and future generations is a key concern.

While we can advocate for green practices in the workplace such as LED lighting, removal of single use plastics, going paper-free and installing smart meters to optimise energy consumption, we can also replicate those sustainable best-practices in our home and personal lives, leaning into the circular economy.

Cheers to love, laughter, and sustainable solutions! Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️🌍

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