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Cupid in Quarantine: Ways to Safely Share Your Love with Your S.O. & The Planet

Dinner reservations? A romantic getaway? A spa day? Your go-to Valentine’s Day plans with your significant other (S.O.) may require some adjustments due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, with some careful planning, you can still safely and creatively share your love with your S.O. and the planet this February 14 [and beyond].

We may typically associate Valentine’s Day with cards, flowers, and candies, but if we aren’t careful, February 14 may quickly turn into one of the most wasteful days of the year.

Our tips, tricks, and hacks are an opportunity to not only show a bit of love to the planet, but also create memorable experiences for your S.O., children, and family that isn’t likely to be soon forgotten.

What to do for that special someone

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, we usually wonder what to get that special someone – cards, chocolate, candy, or flowers, but what happens when the cards are discarded, chocolate consumed, and flowers have wilted? Now, more than ever, may be a time to reframe that question, particularly during a global pandemic.

These carefully curated “gift” ideas are sure to create a memorable experience your S.O. won’t soon forget. They’ll also show your love for our planet as well.

  • Are you set on the idea of flowers? Consider a plant instead. Many varieties may yield flowers for seasons to come. Insist on getting flowers? Be sure to throw them on your compost pile or in a flower bed so they can feed your current plants.
  • Will you miss that dinner reservation? Cook together. Share the experience of savory tastes and smells. Remember to recycle your bottles, cans, and boxes if they’re accepted in your local community.
  • Take a hike or make a socially distanced picnic for an unforgettable experience.
  • If you’re ordering takeout, consider declining disposable cutlery and napkins and opt instead for those you have in your home.
  • You won’t be judged for ordering pizza… at least not by us (but confirm with you S.O. whether that’s the case) but check to see whether your local recycling program accepts pizza boxes. In many cases, the boxes are recyclable, but the pizza is not – so be sure to empty it before recycling.
  • Still seeking inspiration? Treat your S.O. to breakfast in bed, take an online class together, or schedule a movie night to binge watch your favorites together.

Don’t waste the love

Once you’ve consumed or wilted what your S.O. gifted you, make sure you Know What To Throw with these Valentine’s Day recycling dos and don’ts.


  • Do recycle aluminum cans. Check locally to see where and how these are recycled in your community.
  • Do recycle cardboard boxes from gifts or flowers. Check locally to see where and how (flattened or not) cardboard is recycled in your community.
  • Do recycle card envelopes. Check locally to see where and how mixed paper is recycled in your community. Glitter is not recyclable.
  • Do recycle wine bottles. Check locally to see where and how glass is recycled in your community – sometimes all colors of glass are not recyclable.
  • Do recycle cardboard chocolate and gift boxes unless they have anything metallic. Check locally to see where and how cardboard is recycled in your community. Please remember that anything with metal, plastic, or foil cannot be recycled.
  • Do recycle plain paper greeting cards (Valentine’s without metal, plastic, musical, glitter, and foil add-ons). Check locally to see where and how mixed paper is recycled in your community.


  • Do NOT attempt to recycle Valentines with batteries, metal, plastic, glitter, or foil add-ons.
  • Do NOT attempt to recycle flowers. Compost them if you participate in a home-based or local composting program.
  • Do NOT attempt to recycle candy wrappers in your curbside recycling cart.
  • Do NOT attempt to recycle ribbons and bows. Consider reusing them on a future gift.
  • Do NOT recycle diamonds, rings, chocolate, wine, food, or beverages of any kind. You’re welcome to send these to us.

Our tips, tricks, and hacks for a safer, more sustainable Valentine’s Day are sure to make your loved one(s) feel special and show your love for our planet.

Looking for other ways to share your love for the planet? Get inspired at communitiesforrecycling.org.