Looking for ways to spread the love this Valentine’s Day—without the plastic? Like many holidays, Valentine’s Day has unfortunately become synonymous with single-use plastics. You may be wondering if there are alternatives to shiny plastic-coated cards, plastic-wrapped chocolates and candies, bouquets of flowers in plastic film, and cheap synthetic stuffed animals that are forgotten or tossed within weeks. Thankfully, there are plenty of great ways to show your love to people, pets, the planet, and yourself that do not involve plastic! Here are five.
1. Give an experience rather than a thing.
A trip to a museum, a walk in a park, visit to the beach or other natural space, or going to a concert will provide a loved one with a memory, which can be more precious than a physical item. Let your presence be the present for pets too: Spend quality tranquil time with your furry and feathered friends— without your device. As their guardians, walks in nature and restful time spent together benefit all.
2. Make real things.
Homemade gifts carry more heart than anything premade or purchased from a store ever could. If you want to surprise your sweetie, or just brighten a special friend’s day, try making your own art. Create a collage card using old magazines, paint or draw a portrait or picture that captures a special moment from your shared history, embroider a pillow or embellish some clothing, or hand pour or dip a special candle. Look at what supplies you already have at home and let them inspire you to create something unique that your special someone can cherish forever. You might also share sustenance: Bake cookies, a cake, pie, or prepare a delicious meal with friends and family. Or give seeds, seedlings, living flowers, plants, fruit bushes, and trees—gifts that grow with us. With a little water, sunlight, love and attention, they keep giving.
3. Perform a random act of kindness.
Spend some time with a lonely neighbor or visit a nursing home. Be an active listener when in the company of others, write positive comments online, give genuine compliments to the people around you, and laugh while around others (it’s contagious). Donate a book you no longer need to your nearest little library, or clothes to a local shelter.
4. Show yourself some love.
Remember to show yourself some love in small ways too! Take a walk outside and get a fresh breath of air. Make yourself a warm cup of tea. Text a friend a funny gif that will make them belly laugh. Listen to your favorite songs from childhood and be sure to sing along. Dance to a song that makes you feel alive. Call a loved one you haven’t spoken to in awhile and see how they are doing. Do yourself one small favor the day before like setting up your coffee on a timer for the morning. Take a long shower and add some essential oils. Write a kind message to yourself that will make you feel loved.
5. Donate to or volunteer with a cause you care about.
Help make the world a better place for those you love by supporting a nonprofit organization whose mission is to do just that. It’s a gift both you and the recipient will feel great about! Even a small donation or volunteer effort can make a big difference.
With the news that microplastics have been found in human hearts and even affect our fertility, this Valentine’s Day is a great time to support real solutions to help build a just, equitable world free of plastic pollution. Please consider supporting our important work at Plastic Pollution Coalition.