February 14th, 2024

Available at the GreenUP Store & Resource Centre, these unique upcycled totes, pouches, and clutches created by Spruce Moose and Peterborough artist Brianna Gosselin make great gifts that are good for the environment and can be used all year round. (Photo: Eileen Kimmett / GreenUP)

Available at the GreenUP Store & Resource Centre, these unique upcycled totes, pouches, and clutches created by Spruce Moose and Peterborough artist Brianna Gosselin make great gifts that are good for the environment and can be used all year round. (Photo: Eileen Kimmett / GreenUP)

By: Eileen Kimmett, GreenUP Store Coordinator

Valentine’s Day is a special day, meant to be celebrated universally. It is a day that is loved, and not loved, by many around the world.

In fact, some think of Valentine’s as a materialistic holiday, where retailers sell chocolates, cards, flowers, and teddy bears wrapped in wasteful materials to consumers. Unknowingly, the consumers who love the holiday only wish to shower their month and loved ones in feelings of appreciation and connection.

Unfortunately, many of these products will end up in the landfill. But who is to say we can’t love chocolates, gifts, and the planet, too?

You can make meaningful purchases that benefit the local environment, or at least avoid the waste that is created during the holidays. GreenUP is your environmental non-profit charity who has tips and tricks for exactly this, on and beyond the Day of Love.

First, GreenUP encourages community members to choose gifts and experiences that come from the heart. Make a delicious meal for your loved one, bake up a batch of cookies, make a card, enjoy a local show, or take them on a journey to discover a new trail. If you choose to plan an experience, you may enjoy exploring one the many Peterborough trails on the City of Peterborough website (https://www.peterborough.ca/en/explore-and-play/trails.aspx).

If you’re looking for other outdoor options where you may feel the love, skate at the new (and free to use!) Quaker Foods Urban Park outdoor skating rink. Visit a local park or nature area like Jackson Park, and then get warm with some homemade hot chocolate. When you choose experiences over gifts, you will be making memories and avoiding the purchase of more “stuff and things”.

Instead of buying more “stuff”, consider sharing the love with the entire family by giving an experience that will make long-lasting memories. Pictured are Oscar, Hector. and Leo Benigno enjoying a day of connection with their family. (Photo: Clara Blakelock / GreenUP)

Instead of buying more “stuff”, consider sharing the love with the entire family by giving an experience that will make long-lasting memories. Pictured are Oscar, Hector. and Leo Benigno enjoying a day of connection with their family. (Photo: Clara Blakelock / GreenUP)

Next, find a gift that gives back. What better way to show love, than to keep the love going? You can support local businesses and artisans with handmade jewellery, soap, candles, art or cards (gift cards, anyone?). Each gift created by a local artisan comes with their personal touch, and gift cards let your loved one spread the love beyond any holiday.

The GreenUP Store & Resource Centre offers not only advice for making sure you choose environmentally-friendly gifts, but those that benefit the community. If you’re looking for art, local artist Ella Mollie creates visually stunning prints and lino pieces. Upcycled totes, pouches, and clutches created by Spruce Moose and Brianna Gosselin could all be options for your Valentine to have and to hold.

Choosing locally made candles and beauty and self-care products gifts that come in reusable, compostable, refillable, or recyclable packaging is good for the environment. The GreenUP Store & Resource Centre carries beeswax candles from This Old Flame and Swift Acres Apiary as well as a variety of locally or Ontario-made natural beauty products by Sweet Flowering Wellness, Birch Babe, Purple Urchin, and more. (Photo: Eileen Kimmett / GreenUP)

Choosing locally made candles and beauty and self-care products gifts that come in reusable, compostable, refillable, or recyclable packaging is good for the environment. The GreenUP Store & Resource Centre carries beeswax candles from This Old Flame and Swift Acres Apiary as well as a variety of locally or Ontario-made natural beauty products by Sweet Flowering Wellness, Birch Babe, Purple Urchin, and more. (Photo: Eileen Kimmett / GreenUP)

Honey and maple syrup make a perfect gift for the sweetest people in your life. GreenUP carries locally sourced, sustainably harvested honey from Swift Acres Apiary (Apsley) and maple syrup from Red Mill (Millbrook).

Don’t forget the coffee or tea to go with your morning-after breakfast! Enjoy coffee from Old Rail Coffee (Millbrook) or Bird Friendly Birds & Beans coffee (Toronto) and tea from local Community Medicine Gardens (Peterborough).

Bath and beauty products carried in the GreenUP Store & Resource Centre come in reusable, compostable, refillable or recyclable packaging. The Store also carries bath salts, many handmade soaps, body butters, and a variety of locally/Ontario made, natural beauty products by Sweet Flowering Wellness, BirchBabe, Purple Urchin, and more.

Save energy and create a romantic mood. Dim and turn off the lights and light some soy or beeswax candles. Conventional candles are made with paraffin wax, which is a petroleum by-product, and some wicks contain traces of heavy metals. This Old Flame and Swift Acres Apiary are locally made beeswax options which come as they are, or with reusable mason jars.

Did you know that in Canada, an estimated 40 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year? Break up with plastic cards printed abroad and focus on what’s close to home: local card makers with lower environmental impact. Anita Clifford is a Peterborough-based photographer who captures stunning photos of flowers turned into art on cards. Yuko Miki is based in Toronto and creates cards to spread awareness of bird-window collisions in cities like Peterborough. After each holiday, cards can be framed and you can enjoy the artwork for many years.

Anita Clifford is a Peterborough-based photographer who captures stunning photos of flowers turned into art on cards, and Toronto-based Yuko Miki creates cards to spread awareness of bird-window collisions in cities like Peterborough. Choose locally made and recyclable cards to reduce gift-giving waste and, after each holiday, you can frame the cards to enjoy the artwork for many years. (Photo: Eileen Kimmett / GreenUP)

Anita Clifford is a Peterborough-based photographer who captures stunning photos of flowers turned into art on cards, and Toronto-based Yuko Miki creates cards to spread awareness of bird-window collisions in cities like Peterborough. Choose locally made and recyclable cards to reduce gift-giving waste and, after each holiday, you can frame the cards to enjoy the artwork for many years. (Photo: Eileen Kimmett / GreenUP)

Say ‘yes’ to holidays like Valentine’s Day by finding your own way to lovingly share about eco-friendly, low-waste, no-waste, local and natural ways to celebrate. We promise over time, with conscious choice, these days will become less about consuming and more about connection.

Visit our friendly staff at the GreenUP Store at 378 Aylmer Street North in downtown Peterborough, who will help you choose the perfect green gift today, and every day.