A guide to celebrating Valentine’s Day consciously
by Emily Fletcher, Founder of Clean + Conscious
After the past couple of years we have had, many people are finding themselves asking the bigger questions and getting back to what is important. With a huge decrease in social outings, formal events and time spent in shopping centres, we have unexpectedly found ourselves connecting more with nature and our own humanity. This has been reflected in our individual choices and desire to spend more consciously, buy more sustainably and have quality over quantity. Australians are leading the way for conscious consumerism and many local businesses are jumping on board.
For the many contemplating how to apply this to special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Emily Fletcher from the Clean + Conscious Awards has some advice for all of us. How do we still celebrate without harming the planet in doing so, and how can we inspire others around us too?
Valentine’s Day can unfortunately trigger a lot of landfill waste with shiny cards, wrapping, plastic and teddy bears, however it doesn’t need to. There are many ways to celebrate your love for another, whilst also caring for the planet and its people.
1. Gift an experience
Gift your loved one an experience – by themselves or even better, together. The memories can last a lifetime and be very bonding. Experiences can range from theatre tickets to cooking, art, pottery, wine tasting classes, to a weekend getaway. You could even recreate your first date.
An experience gift shows you’ve put time and thought into getting your Valentine something special
2. Shop Locally
When making purchases, keep in mind where a product is coming from and the impact that transportation across the world has on contributing to greenhouse emissions.
Choose to purchase products made locally if you can. You will not only be supporting small business owners and reducing your footprint on the environment but also supporting local farmers and communities.
Skincare products made with wildcrafted Australian native ingredients such as Kakadu Plum, Kangaroo Flower and Lemon Myrtle are incredibly popular and sure to impress.
Check out the Clean + Conscious directory for sustainable beauty gift ideas.
3. Gift a living plant instead of flowers
Love is more than a transient bloom, so this Valentine’s Day, try gifting a living plant instead of flowers. This could take the form of a houseplant, succulent, tree or flowers to plant in your own or loved one’s garden. (Extra points if you do the planting for them too!)
A living plant not only can be enjoyed far into the future, it also represents growth and a breath of fresh air.
4. Choose Ethical Chocolate
A Valentine’s Day classic – just make sure it’s ethical to ensure you are not supporting child labour and deforestation with your purchase, which unfortunately is widespread in the cacao industry.
See our favourite ethical Chocolates in the Clean + Conscious Directory. Not only are the chocolate products we recommend child labour free, they are palm oil free and sustainably produced and packaged.
5. If gifting jewellery, make it ethical
If buying jewellery this Valentine’s Day, make sure to buy from jewellery company has ethical and transparent sourcing and production practices. Also, consider buying secondhand!
The glittering jewellery and gemstone industries can hide a darker side of conflict, child labour, forced labour and exploitation, which you definitely don’t want to support in the name of love!
6. Choose A Gift That Lasts
This Valentine’s Day, make it your purpose to only buy gifts which won’t add to landfill. Rather than going for gimmicky, make Valentine’s Day giving about quality. Think about the lifetime of the materials that your gift is made from and make sure the purchase is something with purpose or meaning. Take notice of what your Valentine needs or enjoys doing and try to gift something that they will use.
If they are into health or fitness, why not gift some activewear or a yoga mat or accessory.
Check out the Clean + Conscious directory for ethical activewear and yoga accessories.
Great zero waste gift ideas include a reusable coffee cup or drink bottle. There are also beautiful zero waste body and beauty products which are sure to delight.
Check out the Clean + Conscious directory for zero-waste gift ideas.
7. Give a gift which disappears without a trace
A wonderful zero waste gift is one of food - why not include a gift of organic chai made from fair-trade tea and organic spices? Or some organic superfoods to help a loved one on a health kick?
Check out the Clean + Conscious directory for sustainable Food + Nutrition gift ideas.
Other fantastic zero waste gift ideas include experiences.
8. Experience the beauty of nature together
Sharing together the beauty of nature is a wonderful way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and create special memories. To give excitement and create a real bonding experience, why not try something new together? Plan a bike ride and a picnic, hike a mountain, hire a rowing boat or a kayak together or take a blanket and warm drinks out at night and stargaze together.
9. The best gifts sometimes don’t cost anything
Make a video compilation or a collage of pictures of your favourite memories together. Write a poem, a song or a little book about your love story.
10. Wrap sustainably
Ditch the wrapping paper and sticky tape and wrap your gift in a reusable bag that can be used again and again for running errands. Other sustainable options include classic brown paper tied up with string or fabric.
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