Zero Waste: Valentine’s Gifts

Just a quick post to show you the zero waste gifts I made for my husband and son for Valentine’s Day. They were easy to put together, cute, well-received, and–what I thought was cool–generated no garbage.

It’s no secret that holidays, and gifts in general, can create a lot of trash: plastic packaging, wrapping paper, bows, etc. I try to recycle gift bags and bows, but I’m just not the type to carefully remove wrapping paper and fold it for another use–I’m a feverish ripper to the end. So we had a huge bag of garbage after Christmas morning, so much so that I’m seriously considering making cloth gift bags for next year (it helps that there is so much cute holiday fabric and I know how to sew).

After reading Zero Waste Home for ideas to reduce our garbage (in preparation for baby), I’ve really started to notice how much waste we produce as a family, and I was determined to do better for Valentine’s Day. I created cards out of paper and envelopes I already had on hand (recyclable), and I had already used my rotary cutter to cut up a bunch of leftover fabric to use as cocktail napkins for my recent brunch.

Fortunately, the local WinCo has a gigantic bulk section, and I noticed that they had bulk Valentine’s Day candy: everything from heart-shaped chocolates to Hershey’s Kisses. So I took my cloth bulk bags and bought a couple handfuls of each, as well as some (non-Valentine-y) peppermint patties, my husband’s favorite.

After that, it was a simple matter to fill two half-pint canning jars with candy (we use them for juice glasses), slip cloth napkins over the lids, and screw the rings down over them. Easy, and zero waste: reusable container, consumable candy, and recyclable foil. Plus, because I didn’t have to buy whole bags of goodies, we had some variety without a ton of candy (my son Sid might argue that that wasn’t actually a benefit).

Zero Waste Gift

You could do this for practically any occasion: birthday, housewarming, hostess gift, etc. The only thing I’d do different is go to a chocolatier we have in Milwaukie, Enchante, and get some of their (better quality) loose candy instead. Plus, you could get entirely package-free loose candy, like chocolate-covered almonds, jelly beans, M&Ms, etc.

Is anyone else out there obsessed with zero waste? I guess it’s the new buzzword, after “curated.” Do you have any tips or resources to share? Post them below!

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