5 Plastic-Free Ways to Spread Love this Valentine’s Day

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.

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November 17, 2022 , 5:00 pm 6:00 pm EST

Every holiday season, millions of people face the challenge of finding thoughtful gifts for the ones they love. Unfortunately, cultural norms around holiday gift giving often create an ocean of waste in their wake—in packaging, wrapping, and in the many gifted items that are used a limited number of times before breaking or being discarded. Many of these items are made from plastic that offgases toxic chemicals and sheds microplastic particles, which are harmful to animals and people, especially children. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to celebrate and by forging new traditions, we can gift mindfully for healthier, lower waste holidays.

Join us for a special holiday webinar featuring Alejandra Warren, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Plastic Free Future and Dr. Manasa Mantravadi, Pediatrician, Founder/CEO of Ahimsa in a discussion moderated by Plastic Pollution Coalition Co-Founder & Managing Director Julia Cohen.

DATE: Thursday, November 17
TIME: 2-3 pm PT | 5-6 pm ET
Click here to convert to your timezone.


PANELISTS

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi
Dr. Manasa Mantravadi
Pediatrician, Founder/CEO of Ahimsa

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board certified pediatrician who practices in Indiana as a Pediatric Hospitalist. She takes care of children who are ill enough to be admitted to the hospital and cares for them in this setting. She received her medical degree from IU School of Medicine and completed pediatric residency at Northwestern University/Lurie Children’s Hospital. She trained at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for fellowship in Endocrinology. Most recently, she launched the world’s first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids, Ahimsa, after the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) highlighted the growing evidence of chemicals in plastic harming children’s health. The company has been featured in Parents Magazine and was the recipient of The Good Housekeeping Parenting Awards 2021. She is now on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change as well as the Council for School Health at the AAP. She loves to educate and empower parents with evidence-based information to raise healthy children and protect our planet.


Alejandra Warren
Alejandra Warren
Co-Founder & Executive Director, Plastic Free Future

Alejandra Warren is an intersectional environmentalist working on diverse plastic reduction, resource conservation and intersectional justice projects in California. She co-founded Plastic Free Future in 2020, a non-profit organization dedicated to the reduction and elimination of plastic pollution through promoting reusable alternatives and focusing on outreach to systemically excluded communities. From soil to humans, Alejandra strongly believes in the interconnectedness of all organisms and that working to heal our relationship with the environment will lead to happier, healthier, and more resilient communities.


MODERATOR

Julia Cohen
Julia Cohen
Co-Founder & Managing Director, Plastic Pollution Coalition

Julia Cohen is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Plastic Pollution Coalition, based in Washington, D.C. Julia has nearly three decades of experience in leading executive, strategic, communications, fundraising, and outreach efforts for a wide range of government, entertainment, and non-profit groups.

She has served in leadership positions with numerous organizations, including Environmental Working Group (EWG), Woman’s National Democratic Club (WNDC), MADE SAFE, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Save The Children’s YouthNoise, Youth Vote Coalition, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), Rock The Vote, and as a Program Officer, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, US State Department.


RESOURCES