top of page

10 Ways to Celebrate a Sustainable Valentine’s Day | Wallet Max

Valentine's day celebration

Valentine’s Day is JUST around the corner, and we love a reason to celebrate romance and relationships just as much as the next person. But did you know that Valentine’s Day celebrations are actually quite problematic for the environment? In this article, we’ll run through ways you can show love to your partner AND the planet by celebrating a sustainable Valentine’s Day.

Don’t worry, being eco-friendly on Valentine’s Day is actually really fun and easy. Continue reading for not just one, not two, but TEN ways to reduce your carbon footprint and celebrate this special day creatively and ethically.

How Valentine’s Day Can be Unsustainable

Before we dive into the 10 ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day more sustainably, let’s first explore how exactly our modern celebration of this seemingly harmless holiday is unsustainable.

Even though it is just one day, Valentine’s Day has a significant impact on the environment. The immense waste generated on this day contributes to approximately 9 million kilograms of CO2 released into the atmosphere, equivalent to the energy use of 1,751 homes in a year. Again, we want to emphasize that this is just one day out of the year.

The practice of gifting flowers, although romantic and lovely, also comes with environmental consequences. 

Americans spend an estimated $2 billion on flowers, further contributing to the environmental footprint of Valentine's Day. Source: The Vox

Close to 80% of the flowers sold in America are imported, and a majority of imported flowers come from Latin America, more specifically Colombia and Ecuador. Unfortunately, labor laws in these countries are constantly violated, meaning that the flowers you’re purchasing from your grocery store were likely produced through unethical labor practices such as child labor, underpaid, and harmful work conditions.

Businesses, Organizations, and Bloggers Mentioned in this Blog

  1. Lagusta's Luscious

  2. Mummy Meegz

  3. Alter Eco

  4. Amanda Santoro

  5. Michelle (Lifestyle and Motherhood Blog)

Skip the Animal Products – Try Vegan

Couple having vegan dinner on Valentine's Day

Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or you’re just getting your feet wet in the colorful world of vegan consumption, sporting it on Valentine’s Day is a bold, and ethical move. Not only will this help reduce your carbon emissions that are associated with the meat industry, it’s such a great way to spread compassion and love to all sentient beings on our planet. 

Not ready to dip your feet into vegan food just yet? You can plan a trip to a farm-to-table or organic restaurant that prioritizes sustainable and locally sourced ingredients – further reducing the environmental impact of our meal choices. Need ideas? Here are some USDA Organic restaurants to choose from in NYC

If staying home and cooking a lovely vegan meal is your jam, there are thousands of delicious vegan recipes out there that you can try. Either impress your partner with a Valentine’s day vegan dinner, or make it a joint activity and cook together.

Ethically-Sourced Chocolate with Sustainable Packaging

Keep the chocolate tradition alive this Valentine’s Day, but make it sustainable. Thanks to special, ethically-produced, and Fair Trade chocolate brands, we’re now able to enjoy chocolate treats without the guilt. Brands like Lagusta's Luscious and Alter Eco offer delicious options for guilt-free indulgence. 

Lagusta's Luscious uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper boxes. They also have a flagship in NYC so you can swing by and order a chocolatey treat for your loved one. 

Alter Eco is a B Corp certified brand that carries vegan options and utilizes home-compostable packaging.

Mummy Meegz is another great woman-owned vegan chocolate brand that is ethical and uses compostable packaging for their products. They are based in the UK (for all our readers from overseas).

Skip the Balloons and Opt for Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day Decorations

Handcrafted heart made from intertwined twigs

Balloons have always been a crowd favorite especially for the kid-at-hearts. Historically, we’ve always associated balloons with celebrations and special gatherings– which is why it pains us to say that they are UNsustainable. 

When released, balloons can end up as litter in our oceans and forests, posing a threat to wildlife. Marine animals and birds can mistake deflated balloons for food and ingest them, leading to injury or even death. Additionally, balloons are typically made of non-biodegradable materials, which means they can persist in the environment for years, contributing to plastic pollution. Instead of balloons, opt for eco-friendly creative Valentine's Day decoration ideas like DIY heart-shaped candles, twig hearts, or biodegradable heart garlands. These alternatives not only add a romantic touch to your celebration but also help minimize waste and protect the environment.

Gift an Experience

Couple smiling and hiking, a Valentine's Day gift of experiencing nature together.

We’re just going to say it: Money buys happiness. Material possessions, on the other hand, don’t. Consider giving your special someone a memorable experience instead! Experiences can create lasting memories and have a deeper emotional impact compared to physical items. Connecting with each other and the natural outside world can foster a strong sense of adventure, joy, spontaneity, and closeness. Furthermore, experiences can have a lower environmental impact compared to physical gifts as they typically don’t go through the cycle of production, packaging, and disposal. It’s simply a great way to reduce waste!

Some examples of a memorable experience could be:

  • Hiking

  • Attending a concert

  • Visiting a sustainable winery

  • Enjoying a day at the beach or lake

  • Wine and paint

  • A vegan cooking class

Note: This tip applies to people who enjoy quality time and valuable connection over gifts as their love language. 

Take Public Transit for a Fun Adventure

Couple excited to board a train together, for a public transport adventure for Valentine's Day.

Taking public transit can be a fun way to add an element of adventure to your date, while also benefiting the environment. Instead of driving your car, you can surprise them by opting for alternative transportation like biking, taking the bus or train, or even better– a romantic stroll to your destination.

You can not only avoid traffic congestion, and reduce carbon emission on a busy Valentine’s Day, but also allow you to enjoy a stress-free journey.

[Add statistic about public transportation or a graph (more preferred]

Another positive benefit to taking public transportation or walking– you’ll get your steps in! If you’re going to spend Valentine’s Day eating delicious food, it wouldn’t hurt to go on that digestion walk.

Use Eco-Friendly Gift Packaging Options

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays where gifting is almost… expected. If finding a gift is a tradition that you just simply cannot forgo this year, worry not because we’ve got some tips on how you can STILL be sustainable this Valentine’s Day. The keyword here is: eco-friendly packaging options.

Statistic: Did you know that typical wrapping paper cannot be recycled, resulting in a significant amount of waste during the holiday season? It's estimated that in the United States alone, about 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper are thrown away each year

Using eco-friendly packaging is ESSENTIAL. Avoid typical wrapping paper because it cannot be recycled. Additionally, steer clear of crinkle paper and typical holiday cards, as they often contain high levels of ink, glitter, and foil, making them unrecyclable or challenging for paper pulpers. Instead, consider using recyclable and biodegradable alternatives like kraft paper or biodegradable paper tape. Another creative option is to use newspaper, which is recyclable and adds a unique touch to your gift. Honeycomb wrapping is another sustainable choice that adds an elegant and eco-friendly flair.

Donate to a Charity Under Their Name

Couple volunteering together at a charity on Valentine's Day.

One heartfelt and romantic gesture on Valentine's Day is to donate to a charity under your loved one's name. Instead of traditional gifts, this unique approach allows you to express your love while making a positive impact on a cause that is meaningful to them. We usually recommend donating to smaller, localized grassroots organizations that focus on environmental, climate, or wildlife issues as these smaller organizations have less admin expenses.

What are “grassroots” non-profits? Grassroots refers to groups that are primarily composed of ordinary civilians who are passionate about a particular cause and actively work towards instigating change on a local, national, or even international scale. These organizations are typically driven by individuals who are not necessarily affiliated with established institutions or governmental bodies. Instead, they are driven by their own convictions and take a bottom-up approach to address societal issues and advocate for their chosen causes.

Here are some non-profits that align with our own mission, based in NYC:

Shop from Small Local Businesses

support local businesses

Shopping from small local businesses is crucial for creating a more sustainable and vibrant community. These businesses often have more flexibility to adopt sustainable practices and are deeply rooted in their communities, making them highly influential in promoting sustainable behaviors among consumers. Supporting local businesses promotes a ripple effect that benefits the entire community and supply chain as they play a vital role in creating jobs and ensuring that the money stays within your community.

Spread the Love by Volunteering

spread the love by volunteering at an animal shelter

Volunteering on Valentine’s Day is so unique and is such a fulfilling experience. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate and spread the love on our community and environment. Engaging in volunteer activities, such as NYC Parks Stewardship or joining organizations like the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, allows you to spend quality time together with your special someone, while giving back to nature and local communities. Planting and pruning trees, harvesting and propagating native seeds, or monitoring local wildlife can be fun and rewarding experiences that deepen the bond between partners. Additionally, volunteering at organizations like the NYC Foodbank provides an opportunity to support those in need and contribute to reducing food waste.

Or, Simply Do Nothing

Couple enjoying quiet moment together in each other's company

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year when it comes to consumerism. And let’s not forget about Valentine’s Day WEEKENDS. Rather than succumbing to the pressure of extravagant gifts and grand gestures on this one designated day, let’s remember that love should be celebrated every day. True love is not measured by the size of a bouquet or the price tag on a gift but by the genuine connections we nurture and the moments we share throughout the year.

Valentine’s Day is often commercialized, so it’s important for us to take a step back, and reflect on the deeper meaning of love. On February 14, you can choose to embrace the simplicity of doing nothing.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day can be fun, and doing is in a sustainable way helps us show our love not only to our partners but also to Mother Nature. We simply cannot have the abundance and opportunities to live a quality life without HER. This Valentine’s Day, try something new and make a positive difference while still enjoying this romantic and memorable day.

Stay up to date with valuable tips on how to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle without sacrificing what you love. Join our Wallet Max Hub and FOLLOW us on our social media platforms: Instagram, Threads, TikTok.

You can also make a lasting impact by sponsoring awards that recognize and celebrate climate-focused startups at our Bold World Awards 2024. Learn more about it here.


bottom of page