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low waste valentine's day gifts

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Author: Laura Yurincich

Valentine’s Day can be a great day to cherish with your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. This year, don’t let waste be a part of your gift. Bare Market Blogger Laura talks you through how to spread love not waste.


Single or not, I have never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. That being said, a few years ago when I started dating my boyfriend, I realized I would have to start doing a little something for him for Valentine’s (he is more of a romantic than I am). Since then my gifts have expanded to include my friends and family. This year I want to keep it low waste, so I’ve brainstormed some alternatives that can be enjoyed by all.

For Your: Significant Other

Skip: The low quality heart shaped box of chocolates from the drugstore.

Swap: Instead, why not bring your own container to a chocolatier, and ask them to place your chosen treats straight into the container. Or go one step further and try making your own!

Skip: The “spa kit” filled with scented candles, body cream and bath salts.

Swap: Create a relaxing spa environment at home. Light a stick of cinnamon, run a bath and play music to set the mood. Then stay in and enjoy the night.

Photo by Miroslava 

For Your: Mother

Skip: The flowers wrapped in plastic.

Swap: Bring a piece of newspaper to the florist, have them create a new bouquet and wrap it in the newspaper. This way the packaging can be recycled. It also means a hand-picked bouquet!

Skip: The non-recyclable card with a glitter heart.

Swap: Send your mother a personalized e-card, and include a picture of the two of you on it. Letting her know that you appreciate her is all your mother really wants anyway. Or if you know your mom prefers something tangible, why not create your own card with a personalized touch.  

For Your: Friends

Skip: The cheaply made singing teddy bear.

Swap: Head to a bulk store, and fill a mason jar with their favourite treat - jelly beans, sour keys, candy hearts - the possibilities are endless! You could even attach a cute handwritten note telling them why you value their friendship.  

Skip: The exotic plant arrangement (wrapped in plastic) from the florist.

Swap: Why not plant a tree in their name? Organizations such as A Living Tribute and Tree Canada are dedicated to restoring Canadian forests and will allow you to plant a tree in honour of someone. (Not Canadian? The Canopy Project is a tree planting organization that works internationally)

Remember, Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to show your loved ones why you appreciate them and nothing says ‘I care about you!’ more than a thoughtful, sustainable or hand-made gift. Happy Valentine’s Day!


About the Author: Laura graduated with a Master's Degree in Political Science from McMaster University, and is currently a hardworking bureaucrat. She was drawn to bare market for its package free laundry detergent, but has stayed to share her experience transitioning to a low waste lifestyle.

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