Valentine’s day is right around the corner! For the most part this just means you can stock up on cheap chocolate soon. But if you feel like getting in the spirit, I’ve come up with a few ways to celebrate, while being eco-friendly of course. Because what is more romantic than showing that you feel a personal commitment to living a sustainable and environmentally responsible lifestyle?
Make a handmade gift with upcycled materials
A handmade gift shows creativity, thought, and that you feel a special connection to the lucky recipient. I look back at a handmade gift for years! Chocolate can stay with you for years as well, but maybe is a less welcome capacity. As for the upcycled part- rather than focus on things that could be recycled – I think it is a good idea to think outside the norm and try to use things that are not accepted by your local recycling plant so they do not spend eternity alone in a landfill (this does vary by region, so make sure to look yours up!). Here are a few ideas for gifts you can make with items that you might end up with every once and awhile.
Tissue, wax-coated papers
Often tissue paper and papers coated with wax are not accepted to be recycled. These are the perfect materials for anything you could possible want to design for a card. I would love to try and recreate this cat, or this heart, but the possibilities are really endless. Just search any handmade card idea and see how you can make it with the materials you have. One of my favourite materials to re-purpose that adds a little sparkle to any card is the foil from the top of a yogurt container (cut what you need and then recycle the rest). I’d love to see how your creations turn out!
You can often end up with the odd meat or even veggie styrofoam tray (but do try to avoid them), and most locations currently do not accept them for recycling. One of my favourite uses is to make your own stamps to use for your card. Heart prints are a fool-proof idea but the beauty of styrofoam is the level of detail you can attain. You can also use a tray for the paint to dip the stamp in, and it washes off easily to reuse again and again. Now go on – stamp away!
Plastic bottle caps
Plastic bottle caps are the worst. You can only give your cat so many to play with/loose under the fridge. So what should you do with the rest of them? You can use them as a base for your homemade styrofoam stamps for one! Another fun idea is to make some sweethearts-esque fridge magnets to spell out your feelings. The next one is my personal favourite because I had been looking for exactly this but never thought of this great idea. Make tiny embroidery hoops to use as brooches, ornaments or pendants! If you don’t consider yourself proficient in needle point, you could simply use a cute patterned fabric! I can’t wait to give these out as the most adorable Palentine/Galentine’s gifts.
I used to be guilty of grabbing too many plastic straws and ended up having a whole bunch in our utensil drawer. Now I have these amazing metal straws and can mostly avoid this. However I wish I had seen this type of project before, because it is really neat. It’s called Himmeli; all you need is straws and string. Here is a tutorial on how to make a 3D heart, which you could give as an air plant holder, or to use as a door decoration.
Prepare an eco-friendly meal together
Pick one of your favourite vegetarian or vegan meals to enjoy together – or better yet, use this as an opportunity to try out a new recipe! One thing I love about veggie cooking is the whole new world of possibilities it opens up. It’s fun, and almost liberating to try new vegetables, dairy substitutes or combinations of spices that you might not have thought to try otherwise. This year, I will be trying out the magnificent ruby coloured Ukrainian style soup – Borscht! Traditionally eaten with sour cream, why not try out some cashew sour cream instead?
Go on a nature date
Go for a walk through a local nature preserve, go bird watching, or go cross-country skiing. Find out what your region has to offer and have a great outdoor adventure. Be safe and have fun.
Well that is all for my ideas right now! I hope that you are inspired to try some of these out this Valentine’s day – whether for a friend, partner, or even your cat!