Valentine's day is just around the corner, and it's a divisive and very commercial holiday. Some of you may be sighing and groaning at the idea of brands capitalising on love, or may just be single and wanting to not see the next week of couples being overly lovey dovey.

But I know many people do celebrate Valentine's and use it as an excuse to pamper their significant other, friends, or themselves! And so I thought I would give you a little bit of a guide on how to do it in an eco way.

This post if full of information, so feel free to scroll or search for the thing you're most interested in this Valentine's day!

Eating Out
Splashing out on a romantic meal can be a lovely way to celebrate valentine's day, but how can you make dining out sustainable? Well opting for local restaurants who use local ingredients and are a lot more likely to care for their local environment, and source small than big corporations. Plus when you eat locally you're helping a family pay for their kid's piano lessons rather than letting a CEO somewhere line their pockets.

Zero waste restaurants like Sample in Nottingham which base their menu on seasonal ingredients bought fresh each week are a great way to ensure you're supporting your local economy and making sure your food is lower carbon.

Opting for a local vegan restaurant is also a great option to ensure a lower carbon footprint, and if you're having trouble finding one then the app Happy Cow is one I can definitely vouch for.

Dining in
I personally have never been a fan of going out on Valentines surrounded by lovey dovey couples. It's quite nice to make an effort with a meal in sometimes, and the best way to make this as sustainable as possible is to shop locally and in season.

You're probably going to splash out a bit anyway, so go to your local grocery shop and try and check the provenance of your produce to make it as close to home as you can, even if you're supermarket shopping. This time of year is one of root vegetables like parsnips, swede, and potatoes as well as leeks, kale and Rhubarb. These may not sound like the perfect ingredients for a romantic meal but you can get creative, BBC Food has plenty of recipes using seasonal ingredients for February

Remember your containers and produce bags when you go shopping, and consider cutting out meat to cut your meal's carbon footprint too!

Flowers-  One thing people think about when it comes to Valentine's day is flowers, bouquets of roses are synonymous with romanticism.

If you want some beautiful but temporary cut flowers Besma has written an amazing post on how to get Fairtrade flowers, and you may be surprised to know that getting flowers grown fairly from Kenya is actually more sustainable that British grown ones as we often have to grow them in greenhouses! Brands such as Serenata flowers do Fairtrade and sustainable flowers.

But there are other options, which are arguably more sustainable, and more long lasting. such as planted flowers, dried flowers, paper bouquets, or a green bouquets!
Cards- A lot of people opt to simply give their loved one a card on valentine's, a simple act to say they love them. There are lots of options here that save on waste, from buying recycled cards, to seed paper cards that can be planted after use, cards you make yourself from recycled materials, to E-cards which require no paper at all.

Whatever option you go for, make sure to avoid paper that has glitter and/or is shiny as this will likely make the card non-recyclable. Though you can always turn your cards into gift tags once they're used and put that on future presents!

Lingerie - I have a post on some wonderful luxury brands, but for more UK brands I can recommend Neon Moon, Brighton Lace, Lara Intimates, Moon Dust, and Twilight Siren.

Jewellery - Again I recommend Besma's  guide to eco jewellery if you're looking for that kind of gift, with some suggestions below from eco brands too.

Gift boxes - For a great list of sustainable gift boxes you can check out my gift box guide, or see below for some valentines ones.

Other Gifts
You can also wrap gifts low waste, and though my gift wrapping guide is christmas specific you can use it for any gift wrapping needs. Plus if you're looking to have some fun this valentine's I also have a guide to Sustainable vegan condoms.

When buying things like chocolates, makeup, alcohol or anything else try to opt for sustainable brands, find the Fairtrade symbol, and support small!

Things to Avoid
Most of us have heard of the evils of glitter, it's a plastic plague that often ends up in watersteams and the natural environment, there's even been a call by many scientists to ban it. But there are alternatives!

If you're desperate for some kind of confetti, try paper, flowers, or even cut out leaves in place of something glittery or metallic. And if you're still desperate for the "real deal" eco glitter companies like  Eco Glitter Fun, Eco Stardust, and Fulfilled Wishes exist, though I do need to do more research into what exactly makes their glitter magically eco!

Balloons are an enemy to the environment, sea life, and other wildlife. Manufacturers often market latex balloons as biodegradable but they don't degrade instantly (or in water) and are often found in the stomachs of dead animals.

So please don't buy balloons this valentines, show your love in a different way.

However you're celebrating Valentine's this year, whether that's with a loved one, a galentine's party with friends, or with your wonderful self make it a sustainable one and have fun! I'm spending my valentine's day celebrating self love by performing in a burlesque show, should be good!

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