Whether you embrace Valentine’s Day or shy away from it, we can all agree that this one-day celebration of love generates A LOT of consumption. And with that comes almost as much waste. Valentines cards, chocolates, candy, presents… even flowers leave the recipient with some waste that needs disposal. 

So you might be wondering, what do you do with all those Valentine’s Day extras? Of course, some are saved for sentimental reasons, like your cherished, best Valentine’s cards or the cute, crayon-coloured cards made by your little ones. But the waste? Do you throw it in the trash? Can you recycle Valentine’s Day cards? How about the packaging your chocolates came in? How about wrapping paper? And what about flowers? 

At Coastline Recycling, we understand you want to recycle when you can. We do, too! So let’s talk about the most common Valentine’s Day gifts and how you can show our planet some love when disposing of what you don’t need.

Valentine’s Day Cards

It’s safe to say that Valentine’s Day cards make up a huge share of Valentine’s Day gift-giving. In fact, Hallmark estimates that a phenomenal 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged every year. And that doesn’t include all the kids’ Valentine’s cards swapped around at school! 

Now when you browse the greeting card aisle (or aisles!) at your local store, the variety of Valentine’s Day cards can be, well, overwhelming. Cards just for moms, or just for dads. Cards for grandparents. Cards for your dog. Funny Valentine’s Day cards, poetic cards, romantic cards. Of course, we at Coastline Recycling appreciate a well-chosen, thoughtful Valentine’s day card just as much as the next person. But as your Sunshine Coast secure paper shredding service, we also like making the best choices we can for the planet. So at Coastline Recycling, we want to help you dispose of your Valentine’s Day cards responsibly after you’ve enjoyed them. We know you’re asking, can you recycle Valentine’s Day cards?

Yes, Valentine’s Day cards can be recycled — but only ones that are 100% paper. We know this can prove challenging sometimes since some Valentine’s cards have additional non-paper elements. And no-one’s to blame if you prefer to give — or get — a Valentine’s Day card with all the bells and whistles. However, fancier cards with add-ons like foil, sparkles and glitter, or plastic decorations can’t be recycled — unless you can remove these non-paper bits. We suggest taking a few extra minutes to remove these from your Valentine’s cards when possible and then recycling the paper part.

On the lower Sunshine Coast, all your home recycling — paper and otherwise — can be taken to one of three recycling depots: Gibsons, Sechelt, and Pender Harbour. In the city of Powell River on the upper Sunshine Coast, curb pick-up happens bi-weekly.

Recycling Gift Wrap

It’s safe to say that the amount of Valentine’s Day gift wrap doesn’t compare to Christmas but there’s still some gift wrap to consider. The most important thing to remember? Just like the answer to, “Can you recycle Valentine’s day cards?” you can recycle wrapping paper if it’s made of 100% paper. Foil, plastic, or cloth wrapping does not go into your paper recycling. And those gift bags with glitter on them? Sadly, those are not recyclable. 

Make it easy for yourself and your gift receiver by choosing gift wrap that’s 100% paper. Bonus points for repurposing old wrapping paper, choosing recycled-content paper, or using gift wrap that can be repurposed.

Valentine’s Day Chocolates and Candy

When it comes to chocolates and candy, we all have our favourites. And hopefully your valentine(s) picked just the right kind to satiate your sweet tooth. But once all the sweets are savoured, what do you do with the packaging? Can you recycle the boxes and wrappers?

Fortunately, you can throw packaging for chocolates into your paper recycling or cardboard disposal if made of paper material. Typically, Valentine’s chocolates come in a type of paper called “boxboard”, which, if recycled, finds new life as new boxes, cartons, paper bags, or other paper-based products. Just make sure what you recycle is all paper. Remove any plastic windows and separate out any non-paper packaging. Any part of  your Valentine’s chocolate or candy packaging that isn’t paper-based can go into your other recycling bins. Flexible or rigid plastics can go into your plastics recycling, anything that’s tin can go into your metal recycling, and so forth. And of course, if your chocolates or candy comes in a reusable container, repurpose it!

Valentine’s Day Flowers

Did you know that the gesture of giving flowers started in the late 17th century? When King Charles II learned about the symbolism of flowers on a trip to Persia, he brought back the tradition to Europe. By the Victorian era, the trend had taken off and red roses on Valentine’s Day signified ardent love.

Today in the 21st century, the tradition of giving flowers is alive and well. A bouquet of roses, a dainty arrangement of red, pink and white blooms… Valentine’s Day flowers are definitely an endearing gift for that special someone. And on the Sunshine Coast of BC, a grey February really brightens up with a Valentine’s Day bouquet.

Even better news? From a recycling standpoint, a Valentine’s Day bouquet is an all around winner. Once the blooms wilt, feel free to throw them into your yard waste or compost bin. From Langdale to Roberts Creek to Sandy Hook, you can throw your wilted flowers into your SCRD municipal compost service.

Another way to recycle your Valentine’s flowers is to dry them. Before they begin to wilt, strip off the excess leaves and trim stems to no less than six inches. Bundle your bouquet together with unflavoured dental floss, then hang the bundle upside down in a dark, dry area — like an unused closet or attic. Your flowers should dry completely in about 2-3 weeks. 

As for the wrapping around your flowers, you can throw the paper in your paper recycling and the plastic wrap in your plastics recycling.

Confidential Shredding of Your Valentine’s Day Waste

Now that you’re well-informed about what to do with your Valentine’s Day waste, you might be wondering about shredding your Valentine’s paper. Of course you can, although you don’t have to, since it isn’t one of the six types of paper you should shred securely. 

Feel free to throw your Valentine’s paper products into your secure, document disposal shredding bin supplied by Coastline Recycling. We’ll safely pick up, transport, shred and recycle all that Valentine’s Day paper along with your confidential documents — all within our tight loop of confidentiality.

Contact us today to set up a confidential shredding service that works for you and give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift of security. Coastline Recycling makes confidential paper shredding on the Sunshine Coast a worry-free, easy experience.

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