The tradition of Valentine’s Day has been widely celebrated for centuries. However, the holiday has been taken over by consumerism and led to an increase in the global carbon footprint. So today, we ask if this is a holiday to celebrate love or waste?
February 14th began in Ancient Greece where offerings were brought to the God of Love, otherwise known as Cupid. As this tradition carried on, the act of gift-giving increased drastically. Today, by some estimates, £150 per person is spent on valentine gifts, contributing to the £2 billion Valentine’s Day industry in the UK. Whilst important to show appreciation to loved ones, the purchase of these gifts has arguably created excessive consumerism and associated waste, defeating the true meaning of the holiday.
The routine purchases of large teddy bears, heart-shaped chocolates, bouquets of flowers, etc to represent your love, have a huge impact on the environment that you might not be aware of. According to Plastic Oceans, Valentine’s Day contributes 9 million kilograms of CO2 into the atmosphere per year. If that isn’t scary enough, here are some more shocking statistics. Those heart-shaped balloons take almost 450 years to degrade along with gifts made from glitter. Surprisingly, the gift with the most environmental impact is cut flowers since most are imported from different countries and are produced in greenhouses fueled by natural gas.
There is nothing wrong with dedicating a day to celebrate love. However, we must take responsibility for the ways we have chosen to celebrate it since it has negatively impacted the environment. So how can we celebrate love in an inexpensive and eco-friendly way?
For one, you can make Valentine’s cards using sustainable paper. We might know a thing or two about that…
There are many innovative and amazing sustainable paper and packaging options that can be used. Contrary to the linear “take, make, dispose” way of living, envoPAP believes in the circular principle of creating wealth from waste. Our Life Cycle Analysis states that our products emit 28% – 38% less carbon than traditional paper, saving over 1 million trees since our inception. This simple switch has no cost to the environment and is a further step towards solving the environmental crisis we are currently living in. Better yet, we make our products from agricultural waste that is returned back to the Earth.
Secondly, let’s be a little bit more personal. Perhaps cook a nice personal meal at home, or spend the day with your young ones. Remember, gifts can fade, are replaced, but memories can last a lifetime. Memories are valuable, but in these times of rising costs, it can cost nothing, making it good for your wallet and the environment.
These are just a couple of the many ways you can have a sustainable and loving valentines day. Not only will the holiday mean more to you, but it will mean more to the planet as well. Perhaps, on Valentines Day we celebrate our love for the planet and all creatures on it.