Whether it’s red, white, pink or chocolate—there’s a lot of packaging and materials that go into making Valentine’s Day the second-most celebrated holiday in the world.
The first mass-market valentines cards became available to the American public during the 1840s, and it has since grown into a nearly $18 billion industry. (That’s just behind Thanksgiving and Christmas in holiday spending!)
Just think about those 110 million roses and 36 million boxes of chocolate that are wrapped and sold each year. Did you know that much of that packaging could be recycled? As you buy gifts for your friends, family and loved ones this year, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Candy and Packaging
Sweets for the sweet, aluminum for the recycling. Unfortunately, most candy wrappers are made of mixed materials and can’t be recycled. Keep an eye out for candy wrapped in 100 percent aluminum foil that can be tossed in with your normal recycling.
But the good news is, all those cardboard chocolate hearts and gift boxes can be recycled along with paper and valentines cards. Just remember to remove the plastic window inserts before you toss them. Have an aluminum box or tin? Those can go right in with your tin cans.
Gift Wrap and Cards
Gift wrap, when removed carefully, can also easily be reused next year. And, if the cards you get are too unique to toss, consider taking a digital picture before recycling it.
Also, making your own valentine out of recycled materials is not only more sustainable—it’s more meaningful, too. For inspiration, check out this tutorial using everything from playing cards to seeds.
And, we just had to share this Oscar-nominated Disney short about how paper brings two people together. It’s a great love story, and it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day. (Although, hopefully the Paperman ended up recycling all those paper airplanes!)
Regardless of how you spend the day, we hope you love to share and share the love—but keep in mind the environmental footprint you and your loved one(s) will make this year.
Happy Valentine’s Day!