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February 2020
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CityLink Seattle

Recycle Your Valentine’s Day

It’s estimated that $2.1 billion will be spent on flowers alone in celebration of Valentine’s Day this year alone. It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day, like most holidays (aside from Earth Day!), can come with a significant amount of waste. Between candy, flowers, gifts, cards, and crafts, the waste surrounding this holiday can truly add up. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help be a little greener this Valentine’s Day. Here are some tips and tricks for this February 14 and beyond.

Where Does It Go: Valentine’s Day Edition

  • Flowers – These are perfectly OK to go in your food and yard waste cart after those dozen red roses lose their luster and begin to decay. Depending on the material of the vase or pot, you may reuse or donate it.
  • Candy – Do you have a lot of chocolate and conversation hearts cluttering up the cabinets? Any food item can go in the food and yard waste cart for composting. Wrappers will need to go in the garbage cart.
  • Candles – Nothing sets the mood like a candle but what do you do after that fire has gone out? Wax should be cooled and dry and then placed in the garbage.
  • Balloons – Latex and mylar balloons should go in the garbage after being deflated.
  • Craft Supplies, Gift Bags, & Wrapping Paper – Excess glitter and non-toxic glue should go in the garbage. Scraps of paper, greeting cards, wrapping paper, paper gift bags, paper gift boxes, and tissue paper can all go in recycling. If that gift wrap is plastic or foil, or includes plastic bows, those go in the garbage.

Tips On Making Your Valentine’s Day Greener

  • Greener Gift Giving – Instead of giving the gift of cut flowers that will die before the end of the month (and that’s being generous because 2020 is a leap year), try giving a potted plant. It will last longer, providing the possibility of many years of enjoyment. If you are giving a bouquet of flowers to your special someone, try to find a vase at a secondhand store to reuse for the occasion or try using a mason jar which can be used long after those flowers die.
  • Skip the Gift Bag Altogether – If giving a gift, try wrapping it in a scarf, placing it in a nice box or something else that can be reused after the gift has been given.
  • Give the Gift of an Experience or Your Time – Another way to avoid both clutter and contributing to a landfill is by giving the gift of your time through an experience. You could take a hike together, offer to do something nice for them, or purchase a fun activity or outing. There are lots of thoughtful ways to give a gift that don’t need to come with wrapping paper or bows.
  • Upcycle and Reuse When You Can – There are a lot of things you can do to avoid the accumulation of unwanted things. But if you find yourself at the end of the holiday with empty boxes and bags that can’t be recycled, you can always reuse or donate those items to give them another life.

Here’s wishing you and yours a marvelous Valentine’s Day! And for other inquiries, be sure to check out “Where Does It Go?”.