We all know the drill on Valentine’s Day. We buy our loved one a card, some flowers, and maybe a box of chocolates. Then we head out to publicly celebrate our love for one another.
While that’s all well and good, the environmental impact of our actions on Valentine’s Day is significant. Thousands of mass-produced cards and tonnes of ribbons and gift wrap head straight into landfill after the day is done.
Is there a more sustainable way to feel the love this February? Especially when it comes to our food choices and dining out? Yes! Here’s how.
Pick Sustainable Valentine’s Restaurants
Many of us like to eat out Valentine’s Day. If we also like to minimise our environmental impact, the good news is there are many ways to eat out more consciously. There are plenty of restaurants across the UK that are doing great things for sustainable eating.
For example, you could take a trip to a zero-waste restaurant such as Silo in Brighton. Silo trades directly with farmers, uses local ingredients and boasts its very own compost machine for any leftovers!
Otherwise, you could choose to eat at a restaurant where the focus is on vegetarian or vegan fare. Websites such as Happy Cow can point you in the direction of plant-based restaurants near you.
If you’re stuck for ideas on ethical restaurants, check out the Best Ethical Food Project, part of the Observer Food Monthly Awards. It includes restaurants such as Terroir Tapas, an eco-conscious eatery based in Bournemouth. Or you could explore restaurants listed with the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Registered members all tick various ethical and eco-friendly boxes.
Share the Love With Social Enterprises
Another great option for a sustainable Valentine’s Day is to go somewhere that gives back to the local community.
Brigade is an example of a social enterprise restaurant. It’s a London-based bar and kitchen that helps support local homeless people with new skills and training.
You don’t have to go all out either. A coffee from a brand doing social good such as Change Please can be just as thoughtful.
Beat the Valentine’s Day Crowds
Not everyone enjoys going out for a Valentine’s Day meal. For some, the act of eating out on the 14th February is riddled with stress. The challenge of securing a booking with a popular restaurant can be enough. Even without having to eat food that’s been forced into a gimmicky heart shape, the remains of which will end up in the bin.
If you get mild palpitations at the thought of heading out on Valentine’s Day, then ditch the corniness and the crowds. Go to your favourite restaurant the day before or after Valentine’s Day. You’ll experience a quicker service, fewer people, and a cheaper bill.
Or you could cook at home for your loved one. Find a local farmers market, pick up some fresh, seasonal produce, and enjoy a more sustainable meal from the comfort of your own home!
Sustainability and Valentine’s Day Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
Although Valentine’s Day is commercialised, it’s still a time when many of us like to show our nearest and dearest how important they are.
It can be easy to fall into the trappings of the day – throwaway presents and meals in flashy restaurants. But it’s reassuring to know that there are environmentally-friendly ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
The easiest way to do this is to prepare your own dinner and eat at home. But equally, there are options available to you if you do want to eat out. Choose restaurants with a focus on sustainability or giving back to the local community. Let everyone feel the love this February 14th!