Cupid may be occupied spreading joy and love this Valentine’s Day but the aftermath is no joke. Every year, millions of dollars are spent on flowers, cards and candy boxes that end up clogging up our landfills. The sad part is that instead of sitting in heaps we have to look at for years to come, most of the time they can be recycled into something even cooler.
Take a look at how your trash collector wants you to separate those gifts and how you can put them towards something amazing…
CARDS – Valentine’s is a massive holiday for the card industry. Greeting cards and the envelopes they come in can be tossed loosely into your recycling bin. They don’t need to be tied with string or placed in bags.
Of course, unless a card is 100% recyclable and you can knock off those plastics, foils or glitter, they can’t really be recycled and wind up in the trash anyway. A great way to thwart this is by buying only 100% recyclable cards or making your own. Bonus points if you make them yourself because you can be creative and the effort you put in will bring extra joy to those receiving them. Plus, it’s much more likely that your loved one will save it if they know you made it with your own little hands.
CANDY – Cardboard candy boxes CAN be recycled normally but only if they don’t have that plastic portion attached. Sadly, that plastic is not recyclable. And, of course, candy wrappers, usually used to wrap individual candy pieces, can’t be recycled because they are made from cellophane or wax coated materials. Unless a candy company starts making 100% recyclable wrappers – it’s usually just trash.
There is a light in the dark however! Some regions have special programs devoted to recycling candy wrappers. Check with your local township about possible programs near you or try TerraCycle, a company that takes trash and manages to turn it into reusable products.
FLOWERS – Another staple of Valentine’s Day is flowers. Flowers and vases are NOT recyclable but they ARE compostable! What does this mean? Well, you can’t send them to a recycling facility but you can put flowers in your green space outside or your compost pile to become one with nature again. You can also dry out the blooms and create wreaths, potpourri or other crafts. If the flowers are still living and you reside in a temperate climate, plant them in your backyard or garden so they can live on. For colder regions, how about potting them and keeping them indoors during winter?
Vases are reusable. If you have no plans for them, ask neighbors, friends or family if they’d like them. You can also post them for free on Craigslist. The point is that vases have a million uses and if you don’t want yours, someone will find a good use for it.
When it comes to the heart, nothing is sweeter than showing Mother Nature a little love and not filling her up with garbage. Your valentine will appreciate any extra effort you toss in and you might just find some opportunities for even more meaningful experiences or gifts by simply thinking ahead and not purchasing items that will just become trash. No matter your plans, enjoy your day and breathe a little easier knowing you did something great for the planet, your sweetie and future generations of star-crossed lovers!
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