Love is in the air..it’s only a few more days until Valentine’s Day. The class lists were sent home and we are busy planning and preparing our Valentine cards and treats for my daughters’ classmates. Raise your hand if you end up with a big bag of garbage in your house about a week after Valentine’s Day. The cards and candy wrappers pile up quickly when you have 2 kids. For this week the challenge is not to avoid giving and receiving Valentine’s…no way. The Family Eco-Challenge is finding ways to green Valentines day…make it a little more about love and a little less about consumption and garbage. Whenever I’m trying to look at life in a “greener” way I always go back to the basics, reduce, reuse and recycle. So, our challenge this week is to bring the 3 R’s into the holiday.
Reduce – It’s not about reducing the love, it’s about reducing the waste. Most Valentine’s are made from paper, which can be recycled, the problem lies in the candy, treats and toys. This year we will be avoiding any candy that is sold in big bags or boxes that then hold small single serving bags of candies inside. Over packaging is a major source of garbage in our landfills. Why package something that is already packaged? We’ll be shopping at a bulk store this year. We will also be careful not to over shop and over spend. I know that if we give each child one candy, that will be plenty. We don’t need to include small toys, that will end up in the landfill. Reducing is about giving in a conscious and loving way…to our friends, family and the earth.
Reuse – This is where some fun comes in. This year my youngest daughter is getting a little crafty with her Valentine’s cards. She’s reusing discarded paper rolls (wrapping paper rolls and toilet paper rolls) to make sweet little owls for her friends. These owls will bring smiles to kids’ faces and reduce the waste that goes to our curb. The other way we will be reusing this year, is making keepsake art from the Valentine’s the kids receive. There are so many creative ways to reuse Valentine’s, I can’t wait to give some of these ideas a try.
Recycle – When all is said and done, when the candy is all eaten, it is so important to sort the waste and dispose of it correctly. Recycle what can be recycled.
It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a holiday. The shops are filled with toys, pencils, games all around the Valentine theme…they are so cute and it seems like they would be perfect to give. It’s time to stop and think about what Valentine’s day is really about. In our house, it’s about love, showing love, sharing love. It’s about teaching our kids the lesson we learned a long time ago… The Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love”