Imagine this conversation:
Sorry, honey. I know you wanted to give out Star Wars cards on Valentine’s Day, but we’re going zero waste this year. That glow stick lightsaber taped to the card is “totally epic,” but it’s also totally wasteful. Your friends will play with that for a day, tops, and then it’s headed straight for the landfill. How about making some seed paper hearts instead?
Whose kid is going to sign up for that deal?
(Not mine, at least.)
It’s a lot easier to go zero waste when you’re the only one making the decisions. Add a partner and some kids with spending money to the equation, and it gets more complicated.
Zero waste living doesn’t have to be anti-fun. Have your Star Wars Valentines! You don’t need to craft biodegradable Valentines cards for the whole second grade — just look for something that’s recyclable and plastic-free.
What makes a zero waste Valentine?
Recyclable materials. A plain paper card can be recycled, but if your Valentine includes glitter, foil, or plastic, those pieces need to be removed and put in the trash.
Plastic-free. If you’re including a favor, is it plastic? Does it come in a plastic wrapper (like candy, applesauce pouches, or string cheese sticks)?
Want some ideas? I searched the internet for some great examples of kid-approved zero waste Valentines.
FREE PRINTABLE VALENTINE JOKE TELLER from Brendid.com
Jokes + cootie catchers? That’s a winning combination for any elementary school kid. Kids will love the Valentine’s Day themed jokes. I love that it’s free and 100% recyclable. Find the instructions and free PDF download at Brendid.com.
DARTH VADER BOOKMARK from RedTedArt.com
Have your kids discovered Red Ted Art’s corner bookmark designs? These mini-origami projects make adorable, sustainable gifts (they’re recyclable!).
There are tutorials for almost any design you can think of: heart-shaped bookmarks, unicorn bookmarks, panda bear bookmarks, emoji bookmarks, and my son’s favorite, Darth Vader bookmarks.
FREE PRINTABLE TROLLS COLORING CARDS from SimpleMadePretty.com
You don’t have to love Trolls to appreciate this Valentine. Is your kid interested in monster trucks? Dolphins? The Broadway musical Hamilton? You can find coloring pages online to suit almost any interest.
My favorite part of this card is the favor. Not only are crayons zero waste, they’re useful! Find the free PDF and instructions to make the Trolls coloring page at SimpleMadePretty.com.
SUSTAINABLE PARTY FAVORS
Candy comes in plastic wrappers. Plastic toys and trinkets soon wind up in the trash. Even stickers are non-recyclable plastic!
If you want to hand out sustainable favors at Valentine’s Day, your kid’s birthday party, or Halloween, try some of these ideas:
My kids love listening to audio stories. Ever since we discovered Sparkle Stories nearly three years ago, I don’t think a day has passed when my son hasn’t listened to at least one story. This year, we handed out free Sparkle Story downloads to trick-or-treaters at Halloween.
I’m excited to see Sparkle Stories is offering free Valentine’s Day story downloads this year! You can find printable cards with a coupon code for an hour of free Valentine’s Day stories at SparkleStories.com.
More sustainable party favor ideas:
Worry dolls (see above!)
Chalk, crayons, or pencils
Hot chocolate packages. Individually-wrapped hot chocolate usually comes in recycable (or even compostable) paper pouches.
What zero waste party favors do you hand out? How do you balance your kids’ wants with your zero waste goals? Tell us in the comments!