Love the planet and your Valentine

A seasonal surge in consumption, even one with the best of motives, means an increased environmental impact.

Valentine's day is no exception and is in fact the second biggest card-sending celebration of the year, after Christmas.

According to Royal Mail lovers and those hoping for some romance send an estimated 12 million Valentine's cards a year in the UK.

When combined with wrapping from gifts, empty chocolate boxes and wilted flowers the most romantic day of the year creates a significant spike in waste levels.

It is also worth remembering that Cupid doesn't fly in all those bouquets himself and as most roses sold in the UK come from Holland, South America, Africa and India 'flower-miles' contribute to the day's environmental impact.

Nine million red roses are given and received on Valentine's Days in the UK alone.

Sales of wine, and Champagne in particular, also register a surge during the Valentine's week and that translates into an increase in glass waste.

This year a number of anti-waste campaigns, such as the capital's Recycle for London, are asking the public to go eco-friendly this year and show their love for the planet as well as their partners.

Among the suggestions of how to show your environmentally sensitive side were send an e-card instead of a carbon-hungry, waste-producing real one.

People were also asked to try to buy flowers with limited packaging and consider local alternatives to flown-in roses.

Any unavoidable waste should, of course, be recycled.

John Duffy, Environment policy director for the Mayor's Office in London said: "I would like to see Londoners leading by example this year and celebrating a 'green' St Valentine's Day.

"The Recycle for London website has a range of tips for choosing the most eco-friendly flowers and tips for recycling after the big day as well as a free Valentine's e-card. This will mean less rubbish going to landfill and marks a new and trendier approach to celebrating the day this year."

Top tips for 'green-romancing' on St Valentine's Day

  • Recycle your cards
  • Try not to buy your flowers from companies that use too much packaging and/or ask for wrapping that can be easily recycled
  • Remember to compost your flowers afterwards
  • Try to avoid over-packaged cards that use both envelopes and cardboards boxes for delivery
  • Enjoy your favourite drink from recycled glassware and don't forget to recycle your empty bottles
  • When cooking your romantic meal, remember to keep all the fruit and vegetable peelings and compost them.

    Sam Bond

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