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Sustainable Valentine’s Day Alternatives for Teachers

Don't forget to celebrate love for our planet during your Valentine's Day festivities this year!

It's no secret that classroom Valentine's traditions generate tons of trash - quite literally! Every year, over one billion Valentine's cards are manufactured, transported, purchased and thrown away - that's a lot of paper waste! Many Valentine's cards cannot be recycled as they contain embedded plastic materials, such as glitter.

This year, try adopting some eco-friendly Valentine's traditions in the classroom. 

Seed Paper Valentine's 

Save your junk mail and transform it into seed paper valentines! Making these seed paper cards is not only an easy kid-friendly activity, but it also provides a great opportunity to teach students about repurposing paper and gardening using seeds. Planting the seed paper at school or at home and watching flowers grow from the planted paper is sure to be exciting!

Learn how to make these simple seed cards here.

Give recycled bookmarks as Valentine's 

A good alternative to the throwaway Valentine's prizes often included in Valentine's Cards is crafting a bookmark made from recycled materials! These bookmarks can be made by repurposing thin cardboard boxes used in packaging (cereal boxes, granola bars, crackers, etc.) as a blank canvas for the artistic mind. Encourage children to get creative with painting, coloring and decorating the repurposed cardboard! 

Read more detailed instructions about how to craft recycled bookmarks.

Sustainable classroom decorations

Decorating the classroom for Valentine's Day can be not only a fun class project, but it also can be a great learning opportunity to teach about protecting the environment.

Traditional Valentine's decorations like balloons, tinsel, glitter and confetti are not recyclable. Balloons take over 400 years to degrade - and other smaller plastic decorations become microplastics which enter our waterways and may never degrade. A more eco-friendly approach to decorating the class room can be to use natural materials that easily breakdown in a compost bin. Bright flowers are a beautiful thoughtful way to bring in the holiday spirit and reduce less harmful waste. 

Playing with different lighting can change up and set a more festive mood. For example you can project imagines onto blank walls or hang LED lights around the room. 

Overall, taking a more minimalistic approach to decorating can drastically help the plant while still celebrating the fun

Craft Classroom Decorations from Recycled Materials 

Decorations can be crafted from colored construction paper, scrap paper or even glossy colored newspaper ads! These paper decorations can be easily recycled after the party festivities have ended. Encourage students to get creative with decorations this year

Need some creative inspiration? Learn more about decorating your classroom with recycled materials.

Image credits: 

Seed Paper Valentine's: 


Classroom Decorations: 

Students Crafting: 

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