Dating is one of the oldest dances of human experience. This process involves intimacy with varying degrees of sophistication. It’s easy to swoon over flowers, chocolates, and candle-lit dinners, but underneath the rose-colored facade, dating can have negative implications to one’s wallet and the environment. But you can have an eco-friendly date that is both meaningful and affordable.
To help you have a meaningful date in a zero waste way, I asked lifestyle bloggers, travel bloggers, travel and hospitality industry insiders, relationship experts, and environmental experts on how to spend special time with your other half sustainably. Learn from their insights and get inspired to have your own eco-friendly date, beyond Valentines’ Day.
Are Dates Wasteful?
This Valentine’s Season, dates or dating will be the most popular thing to do with your special someone. However, these activities come at a cost of spending time, effort, money that can be used in the exchange for material goods. According to, Sonya Schwartz, founder of Her Norm, Valentine’s Day has some negative environmental impacts just like many other holidays.
At this time of the month, gift-giving will be more common and it is highly likely that people will be surprising their loved ones with balloons and all sorts of decorations. However, since these are only applicable and good for that particular day, all wastes will eventually end up accumulating in lands and oceans.
Dates can involve producing a lot of wastes, considering the fact that some items are only bought “for show” and are mostly single-use variations of plastics. Thus they are thrown away because they will be of no use anymore. However, dates are not wasteful if it is well-spent.
As long as it does not pose a threat to the environment, you are free to enjoy all the dates that you can – may it be in the love month of February or any other month of the year. Although giving material gifts can show how much we love that person, we are reminded that we can go beyond these tangible presents. This is because gifts of experience are among the best that we can give to someone because they create unforgettable memories that they can cherish forever.
Importance of having an eco-friendly date
Eco-friendly dates are important and are an essential practice in today’s society because, not only are we showing the essence of dating to our loved ones, but we are also making a beneficial impact on the environment. Dr. Brenda Wade, an Advisor to Online For Love, stated that it is no hoax that the world is facing multiple challenges and crises, especially in the past year. Such includes a global pandemic, historic economic crisis, systemic injustice — social and racial — plus a climate crisis. With this, it can be inferred that showing that you actively care for the environment, can influence other people to do the same.
And so, if people are committed to change the world, having eco-friendly dates is a good start. After all, showing love this Valentine’s month is not only limited to romantic partners. It can also include showing love to the home that we all live in –which is the type of love that can have immeasurable benefits.
Eco-friendly Date Ideas
Most people might think that eco-friendly dates are boring and plain. Caroline Lee from CocoSign says that we can still have the fullest experience of enjoyment without destroying the environment. In fact, there are three different categories of things and activities that you can offer to make your date extra special.
DIY dates and gifts of loves
Firstly, DIY or Do-It-Yourself projects are a good substitute for buying ready-made gifts for your loved ones. Additionally, these projects are also good and fun activities that you can do with your partner. Not only are these things fun to do, but they are also sustainable. Such are the following DIY projects you can try:
Making Personalized Items as A Couple
The Chief Marketing Officer of avXperten, Simon Elkjær, stated that making personalized items with your significant other such as swings and tables out of old tires and lamps out of old bottles, can be of great use when you have romantic backyard dinners every once in a while.
Recycled and Personalized cards
When it comes to giving love letters and cards, recycled materials and a ton of creativity can go a long way with making someone feel special, says Samantha Moss, the Editor & Content Ambassador at Romantific. This act is not only an act of love towards your partner but also to the environment.
Giving gifts is also made special when they are handcrafted. For Sonya Schwartz, it is made meaningful because shows that you have put in effort in creating it for them.
Valentine Gram Competition
Another eco-friendly date idea by Kaitlyn Short, a Senior Content Editor for BestCompany.com’s Online Dating Vertical, involves having a fun and exciting competition with your Valentine’s date. Saving old boxes, cardboards and other potential craft materials can be used to make a valentine’s gram. See who can be the most creative and heartfelt in their creation. You could even think of it as a modern art contest.
Secondly, there are also other eco-friendly activities for your dates that involve minimal to no expenses. Doing the following activity ideas with your partner can make your date more memorable:
Zero Waste Picnic
If you’re in a lockdown or more restricted area by mid-February, then a simple hike or picnic on the beach or in the countryside can still represent a special occasion. After all, spending time together in nature has got to be a win-win. Sarah Spencer of Eco Passion suggests that if you opt for a romantic picnic, you can prepare some special homemade sweets and cakes or hide handwritten love notes in the food parcels or containers.
Just remember to choose reusable containers, or cover food with wax wraps rather than cling film, and opt for bamboo cutlery rather than plastic to minimize your impact. Eco-friendly gifts such as a reusable bottle or stainless steel straws are a great idea. Use your imagination to turn a picnic into a personalized treat for the one you love.
Enjoy nearby parks
When Kristen McCalla of Earth Friendly Tips and her husband celebrate Valentine’s Day, they enjoy going to a nearby park. They pack a picnic, do some hiking, and enjoy spending time outside and with each other.
Biking/Walking to Your Favorite Place
Spending time with them while exercising is like hitting two birds with one stone. However, choosing to bike or walk towards that treat destination rather than ride a vehicle would also mean that your action lessens carbon emissions.
Planting something together can be a physical manifestation or symbol of cultivating and growing your relationship. Abby, the Head of Marketing in Wellpcb PTY LTD, advises everyone to ask your local gardening store what will grow well in your area and at this time of year. Bring home some seeds for you and your partner to plant in your garden. You can also partner with one of many organizations to plant a tree together. Another alternative for people living in cities is planting a potted plant. You can watch the tree or potted plant grow as your love grows too.
Get cozy and spend your day or night watching movies with your partner and prepare some popcorn for snacks. Dim the lights to make it feel like a movie theatre. April Maccario, the founder at AskApril, says that this act can be a relaxing moment for couples staying at home, and can relieve the stress caused by lockdown this pandemic. Remember to stay at home and stay safe! For couples who are in long-distance relationships, watch parties are always available to connect the both of you together. With this, the distance will never be a problem.
For those who want to quench their inner travel bug, watching foreign movies can do the trick. No language barrier can come in the way with Babbel, a language learning app run by experts. Babbel’s list of the 12 most romantic foreign language films to watch this V day will make you want to snuggle up and jet off, all in one go!
Spending time with nature and with a loved one is a win-win situation, especially when you live near lakes or ponds. Fishing, which takes place in nature and requires physical activity, helps to boost endorphins and promote positive mental wellbeing. And finally, fishing encourages uninterrupted conversation and patience, helping you to get to know your date without modern distractions or technological intrusions. For more information about the benefits of fishing and having this activity as a date, visit Fishbrain.
Nothing is more relaxing than being in the comforts of your own home or hometown. Due to the new rules brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, traveling is banned in most areas. Caroline Lee says that the ideal location for an eco-friendly staycation is either in your own property or the nearby countryside, where you don’t have to book a flight to go to.
Outdoor Camping & Stargazing
Another option is outdoor camping (just outside your house!). Pitch a tent outside and enjoy the marvels of nature in your backyard. Don’t forget to do the classic stargazing while enjoying a warm drink with your loved one. According to Josefin Björklund, Founder of Topp Casino Bonus, this activity can serve as a reminder in this pandemic season that, in all of this world, this galaxy, this universe, you’re there, at this moment, together with your Valentine.
Take your partner on a surprise scavenger hunt in another neighborhood or in a nearby town/city. Look into the history of a place, and think up quiz questions that your partner has to answer before being led to another point of interest. You can end at an eco-friendly restaurant or bar — by this, I mean a dining experience that does not use throw-away or single-use disposable glassware or utensils. Recently in Philadelphia, Becca and Dan from @halfhalftravel went to the Plough for a drink and were happy to see that they used ‘real glasses’ for drinking outdoors at tables set up on the sidewalk, as opposed to the plastic cups we see a lot of other places using due to COVID.
Jamie Gominger from Lotus Compass, a travel company specializing in pilgrimage and self-discovery, suggests couples create their own relationship pilgrimage! Make a route including all the most meaningful places where you’ve shared amazing memories together, and either bike or walk to each of those places. Outdoor adventures + romantic moments = perfect zero waste Valentine’s Day!
There is a lot that you can do to celebrate Valentine’s day aside from the typical dates that we all know. As a relationship expert, Michelle Devani, the founder of lovedevani says that it’s good to try something different like some eco-friendly dates. As for me, the best eco-friendly date for Valentine’s day is volunteering for nature preservation like cost clean up drives and other nature trails. It’s a very different way from the typical Valentine’s celebration in which you can actually help the environment.
Zero Waste Gifts To Buy
Thirdly, when you have the budget for this Love Month, it’s important to spend your money and time in the things that matter most and can bring happiness and warmth to your relationship, as well as positively impacting the environment. These are the following must-haves and other activities this Valentine’s:
Shop at a farmer’s market and cook a meal together
Shopping at a farmer’s market not only gives you fresh produce and other items, but it also helps in supporting your local community. Once you get home, you can enjoy preparing meals together while occasionally giving each other romantic or flirty gestures. To Robin Sutherns, Relationship and Style Editor at Galtelligence, this is a perfect date these days because cooking together at home is one of the most romantic ideas for Valentine’s day. Moreover, it also reduces the likelihood of getting infected with COVID-19. No restaurant boxes, less noise, no traveling, and less wasting
Gifting Custom Songs via SINGSTAGRAM
The founder of Singstagram, Adam James created this platform to deliver hundreds of custom songs as music videos in any preferred genre. The client also gets to choose a package (good for a month) that involves the following:
(a) A live video or phone call of a special song for $50/month;
(b) The VIP package includes a video of a famous song that’s customized with much more of their story woven into every line of the song for $80/month;
(c) The Hollywood VIP on the other hand costs $150/month, and delivers a custom song with their story woven into it set to a slide show that features images from their life, and the photos must be provided by you.
With all these packages, the client receives; (1) Their custom song as a music video; and (2) A beautiful custom lyric sheet that can be printed and framed.
Rent Designer Jewelry
Obánj is a luxury jewelry company with a focus on providing women affordable access to luxury jewelry while being sustainable for the planet. For as low as $29/month, members can rent Dior, YSL, Gucci, and more. Indeed, it is a great cost-effective way to give your partner unlimited access to designer jewelry without breaking the bank.
Stylish Outfits via Gotcha Packed
Gotcha Packed is a virtual styling service helping travelers look and feel great for their next getaway. All of the clothing, accessories, and shoes they deliver are sourced from sustainable, fair trade, small women or minority-owned businesses, and socially conscious brands. All of their shipping and packaging materials are also eco-friendly and biodegradable. A Gotcha Packed makes for an amazing and unique Valentine’s Day gift idea and couples have fun opening their style boxes and doing a little indoor fashion show for each other!
For a more sensual and romantic experience, couples may opt to try Infrared saunas provide a gentle, soothing therapeutic heat that deeply penetrates through the skin and promotes healthy living that extends beyond the body. Clinical grade Red Light Therapy utilizes low-level laser light, set at a specific wavelength, to safely penetrate deep into the body in order to stimulate the mitochondria within your body’s cells. Not only that, but Red Light boosts male testosterone which helps with sex drive, and Red LED light therapy is more eco-friendly than using incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
Enjoy Romantic, Sexy Games
Depending on the intimacy level of your relationship, you can enjoy fun games together indoors, or play a “sexier/dirtier” version of it for more spice. The Editor-In-Chief of Women’s Health Interactive, Alison Huff suggested playing Scrabble, Jenga, and Monopoly –the classic games that are most likely forgotten in the storage room. If the old-style bores you, enjoy being flirty with your partner and play a dirtier version of it.
If you’re looking to find something racier, there are lots of sexy board games out there, including Sexopoly. This can be purchased on the Adam & Eve website. Pair a sexy game with lingerie and a few odds and ends for a cozy night of romance, and you’ll have a really memorable Valentine’s Day.
Eco-friendly Dates to Book
Lastly, this season can also be spent with booking services or travels. If you and your partner are eager to see the world in all its grandeur, the following bookings are perfect for you:
Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Southeast Florida’s Palm Beaches is home to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, which is the perfect place to explore the world of marine creatures with your loved one. Online weekend virtual tours will be available this love month with only $12 per person and a package of $60 minimum for up to 10 people. Sea turtle adoption is also available for those who love to care for sea turtles. The following are the prices for this unique adoption experience:
- Enhanced Adoption: $65
- Deluxe Adoption: $100
- Name A Hatchling Adoption:$150
- Giant Sea Turtle Adoption:$200
Iron Water Ranch
For those who enjoy the company of ranch animals, prepare your snuggles with baby lambs at Iron Water Ranch outside of Corvallis Oregon. Not only that, but there will also be educational displays, knowledgeable staff. With the ongoing pandemic, your safety will always be a priority in this getaway by booking appointments before you get the chance to have the fullness of this experience.
A memory remembered for a lifetime will always be treasured and will always remain, unlike the bouquet that will only wither in a few days, according to Brian Conghalie, founder of My Open Country. For Brian, hiking offers a new and memorable experience as you and your loved one spend a magical night under the stars and admiring the view of the mountains. Maroon Bells in Colorado offers just the perfect date for hikers, campers, and backpackers. This allows us to disconnect to the noises that surround us in the busiest streets and gives us the opportunity to reconnect and reflect with those that matter most.
Suzzane Bratton assures all customers that TripShock has something for everyone. From bike rides to Kayak and paddleboard rentals, Hiking, bird watching, and stargazing, and other exciting outdoor activities. Dates are now made special especially when there is still much to explore.
Ghost City Tours
For those that would love a chilling and spooky thrill, Ghost City Tours offers haunted walking tours in 8 domestic US markets. The tours offer us to discover and remember the most sordid love affairs through history and the ghosts and haunted locations that go along with them. The tours also have COVID-19 friendly restrictions which help you stay safe.
A fun eco-friendly date idea is Nakation. Couples can enjoy Nakation vacations in eco-friendly environments that offer nude hikes/swims/canoeing and more. And there are added health benefits: sunlight on the body enhances brain health, hormonal health,
sound sleep, and it also boosts serotonin to enhance mood.
One safe way to get a nakation (naked vacation) is through booking AANRS at 1-800-TRY-NUDE or visit www.aanr.com/aanr-clubs/. You get to spend time with your Valentine with a break from the ordinary and COVID-19 isolation, and experience nature while having nude activities.
Delaware Discoveries Trail
Exploring interactive street artwork with a loved one this Valentine’s Day is made possible by Delaware Discoveries Trail where you can see State Parks and Delaware landmarks. Enjoy a romantic picnic along the way.
Beeyonder allows you to book from more than 300 virtual travel experiences from a growing roster of virtual tour providers. Gift cards are also available with these online travels. Not only does this have zero carbon emissions, but you also get to spend time with your loved one.
This online platform is a good way to experience traveling without the hassle of commuting or the fear of COVID. Globetrotter VR allows you to join a virtual walking tour in real-time or watch at your convenience anytime you want. This is an online platform for virtual travel, that allows you to experience cities from your couch, with the help of virtual reality and professional tour guides.
This Valentine Season, lovers, families, and friends will have the chance to show their love for each other by giving gifts, doing activities, and more. However, as we cherish the moment with them, let us not also forget to show love for the environment – the only home that we have. In fact, dating is possible without contributing to the ongoing environmental global crisis.
Having an eco-friendly date is not only possible, but it is also easy to do and can help you uncover the essence of dating – quality time and heart-to-heart conversations, reflections, and everything that reconnects the bond that is twisted in a busy life. Loving your special someone whilst caring for the environment is made possible by creating simple yet very personal DIY crafts, doing almost costless outdoor/indoor activities with them, buying them gifts, and booking getaways.
With this, it can be concluded that love for the environment and romantic love towards other people can be treasured and celebrated at the same time. Despite distance, pandemics, and other forms of hindrances, everyone can still make a change. In the end, love goes beyond these obstacles, and activities that influence the betterment of the world create impacts that are amplified exponentially in the long run.
So, choose love, choose life.