Share the love and protect the planet with a sustainable Valentine’s Day celebration
Like many annual celebrations, Valentine’s Day can rack up a lot of waste — whether it’s the card that ends up straight in the recycling bin, the excess food at a swanky restaurant, or sprinklings of non-biodegradable glitter. Not to mention the plastic-laced heart-shaped helium balloons… This year, why not show love to both your partner and the planet by planning a romantic date that doesn’t cost the earth? From sustainable Valentine’s Day gifts to activity ideas, here are our steps to an eco-conscious celebration.
Step 1: Rethink the card
A traditional Valentine’s Day card can, of course, be a lovely way to show your partner how much you care — particularly when you invoke the lost art of the love letter. However, not all of us are budding poets wishing to write streams of sweet nothings, and many cards receive nothing more than a cursory glance before being set aside.
Moreover, many shop-bought cards feature plastic-based glitter, foil, or flocking that can’t be recycled. But don’t worry, if you do want to send your sweetheart a card, there are some ways to do so in a more environmentally-conscious way.
Why not make your own Valentine’s Day card? Not only will it bring an extra personal touch, but it also gives you the chance to think about the materials you use. You could recycle old birthday or Christmas cards and create a collage. Alternatively, you could draw or paint the front of your card. Either way, your Valentine is sure to appreciate the effort.
If you’re not feeling so confident in your artistic skills, try looking for plantable cards. Usually made from recycled paper, these cards are packed with tiny seeds. Once the big day has passed, your recipient can plant the whole thing in the garden and watch beautiful flowers bloom, year after year.
Is your loved one tech-savvy? They might appreciate a paper-free Valentine’s e-card. E-cards are also a great option if you want to spread some love and joy to friends and family. Why not round up your loved ones’ email addresses and send some Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) best wishes?
Step 2: Look for sustainable Valentine’s Day gifts
There’s no denying that gifts are a big part of Valentine’s Day. From small tokens of affection to generous displays of love, gifting is a wonderful way to show your significant other how much they mean to you.
If you usually opt for big teddies or novelty items, consider something longer-lasting. You can also make some sustainable Valentine’s Day gift choices without compromising on your romantic traditions.
Consumable gifts are another great option — and nothing is more romantic than luxury chocolates. From elegant heart-shaped chocolate boxes to collections brimming with cacao-rich truffles, pralines, and a tipple or two, sumptuous chocolate is the ideal way to engage the senses and show your love.
However, when choosing Valentine’s Day chocolates, shop sustainably. Look for brands that make a conscious effort to use ethically sourced cacao and minimal plastic in their packaging. At Hotel Chocolat, we follow the four pillars of our Cacao Sustainability Charter. This not only ensures our cacao farmers receive fair pay but also enhances biodiversity (via our Gentle Farming programme in Ghana), encourages and facilitates tree planting, and reduces deforestation.
Our Planet Pledge is also in place to reduce our impact on the environment. We’re continuously taking steps to improve our existing sustainable packaging and reduce our plastic usage. Our current rate stands at 96% recyclable or reusable packaging — soon to be 100%.
Step 3: Go for a houseplant over cut flowers
Flowers are another favourite Valentine’s Day gift. While beautiful, however, they don’t always last that long. If your significant other has a green thumb, consider swapping the bouquet for a house plant they can continue to nurture long after February 14th has passed. Plus, plant pots will usually involve a lot less plastic than the packaging used for cut flowers.
Step 4: Cook an eco-conscious meal
If you and your loved one usually go out for a Valentine’s Day meal, why not get cosy at home and cook together? As well as avoiding booked-up restaurants, cooking at home allows you to have more control over your ingredients and avoid food waste. You can choose your portion size and save any leftovers. As a bonus, home-cooked meals tend to be a lot more affordable than splashing out on eating out.
What’s more, you can choose your ingredients and focus on ethical and sustainable products. You might like to go for a vegetarian option or choose locally-farmed, organic meat, for instance.
When it comes to desserts, there’s nothing more romantic than a chocolate fondue. Our Mini Chocolate Dipping Adventure For Two offers two decadent melting pots, and an array of sweet and savoury nibbles to dunk to your heart’s content. The best bit? You can count on every mouthful of melted chocolate being ethically and sustainably sourced.
Of course, chocolate isn’t just for couples. Our Large Chocolate Dipping Adventure is equally perfectly suited to Valentine’s Day celebrations with friends. Enjoy four varieties of chocolate, alongside fluffy marshmallows, indulgent Gianduja truffles, crunchy florentines, and more. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a cosy gathering with your favourite people.
Step 5: Enjoy some planet-friendly date night activities
Another excellent way to plan a sustainable Valentine’s Day is to think about the activities you choose. From a stroll on the beach and a picnic in the park to a snug pillow fort at home, there are plenty of ways to spend time with the special person in your life without increasing your carbon footprint.
Rather than driving to a restaurant or other destination, why not make it an adventure and cycle instead?
Those looking for a romantic night in, why not go all out and switch the lights off? Put your phones away, light some candles, and reconnect in the dark. You could play board games by candlelight or simply take the time to chat, unencumbered by digital distractions. As well as creating a new dynamic, you can reduce your electricity usage for the evening!
Sustainable Valentine’s Day chocolate gifts from Hotel Chocolat
No matter how you spend your Valentine’s Day, be it with a partner or your best friends, there are plenty of straightforward switches that can help make it a little more eco-friendly. If you’re looking for sustainable chocolate gifts for your Valentine, explore our collection. From small tokens of affection to generous displays of love, our Valentine’s Day chocolates are the ideal way to show you care.
You can rely on Hotel Chocolat to deliver chocolates packed with ethically and sustainably sourced cacao. With minimal plastic packaging wherever possible, we’re always striving to reduce our own carbon footprint and live by our ethical values. Learn more about our Engaged Ethics Programme and browse our full collection of chocolate treats.