The Environmental Impact of Valentine’s Day

Oh no it’s me again being miserable and spoiling everyone’s fun. I am not saying don’t celebrate with your loved one I just want to highlight some stuff you may want to think about to lessen your impact.


In the UK at this time of year flowers come from Holland where they are grown in hothouses, these may or may not be heated using renewable methods. 1 rose grown in a conventional hot house = 2.1kg CO2e.  Sometimes the packaging will indicate how eco-friendly they are. Other flowers are flown in from Kenya, a country that is not able to feed its citizens. 1 rose grown in Kenya and air freighted = 350g CO2e. Surely it is better for Kenya to use its land to grow food, not flowers for us that last only a few days. You can buy dried English Lavender, air dried, no chemicals, watered naturally the major environmental impact is in its postage and packaging.


The majority of the environmental impact of wine is in the bottle and the growing, where you get it from pales into insignificance. Consider buying wine in a box, this is easier to transport and you get more wine, further reducing the impact. Even better  would be to go to a local independent brewer and have a pint of their finest cask ale instead. If you do buy a bottle, please recycle it otherwise it will just sit in landfill forever, recycle the lid too, preferable not still on the bottle but don’t worry about the metal collar your recycler has a method to sort that too.

1 box wine = 400g CO2e, 1 bottle = up to 1500g CO2e


A posted card has a carbon footprint of ~18.5g CO2e, to reduce this you could buy a card that is made of recycled card and hand made locally, hand post your card, make your own card or if your relationship can handle it, no card at all! Please don’t throw it into landfill, it will rot but releases methane while it does, which is a much worse greenhouse gas than CO2.


Buy locally made, not tat that will end up in landfill or again controversially don’t bother (do bother but with a nice gesture e.g. cooking dinner). I’ve been happily married for 23 years I do not need a tacky card or present to make me feel loved, that comes with everyday things.


A 50g bar of chocolate has a carbon footprint of 169g and growing Cacao is responsible for a lot of deforestation globally. If you don’t buy it, you don’t eat it and you don’t put the weight on. If you do buy it make sure it is Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance accredited.

Going out for a meal

The impact of a meal can vary hugely. Vegan has less environmental impact than vegetarian which has less environmental impact than meat. Meat itself varies a lot, chicken is  better than pork which is much better than beef and lamb.

At this time of year in the UK the range of seasonal veg is a bit limited – leeks, celeriac, parsnips, beetroot are all still available.

What to do

Have a romantic evening in for two with a home cooked vegetarian meal, using home grown veg, a cask of local ale and light a candle – ah but should it be a paraffin or wax candle ;-)?




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