Is Valentine’s Day dead? According to the National Retail Federation, only 53 percent of people celebrate the holiday. In fact, approximately one in five men (22 percent) and women (18 percent) forget about Valentine’s Day entirely. But, the lovebirds who do celebrate are also spending more than ever: $23.9 billion is expected to be spent this year on flowers, jewelry, chocolates, champagne, and other luxury items, with an average spend of $175 per consumer.
Those grand gestures are the reason why this holiday results in excessive waste, with hundreds of millions of roses grown for Valentine’s Day and thrown in the trash by the end of the week. Waste Expo estimates that each year, consumers purchase 36 million heart-shaped boxes, 180 million greeting cards, 198 million roses, 881,000 bottles of sparkling wine, and 58 million pounds of chocolate for one single day—generating more carbon emissions than driving around the world 3,993 times. Sadly, much of it will go to the landfill.
But wait! That doesn’t mean we—or your main squeeze—are letting you off the hook! You can honor Saint Valentine in a more ethical way—by sourcing local flowers and fair-trade chocolates, DIYing gifts and cards, and whipping up sweet treats. The ancient holiday was called the Feast of Saint Valentine, after all.
So get in that kitchen and make something—and when selecting chocolate to bake with or gift, look for vegan, fair-trade chocolate that knows its source. The best part about these desserts is that they’re so delicious, they’re guaranteed to be zero-waste—you’ll devour them in one sitting.