reuse-Valentines-flowers.jpg As Valentine’s Day approaches, most of us are busy figuring out how to show our appreciation for loved ones. While the anxiety grows, so does the waste buildup after this particularly special day. From the thoughtful messages of greeting cards to the freshly cut flowers, we are all striving to impress yet we could be a bit more resourceful with generous gifts we may receive.

Give your flowers to someone else

Although there is an acclaimed elegance to freshly cut flowers, unfortunately, these beauties only last for a short while. Those leftover flowers that may have a bit life left in them can be broken up or combined for donation to various organizations. Institutions like hospitals, nursing homes, hospice facilities, Meals on Wheels chapters and a number of other less fortunate locations. They will be very appreciative of your generosity while spreading the gift of love.

Laminate your flower forever

Some of us, however, may want to find a way to preserve the flowers that we receive as bookmarks. To add this personal touch, wrap the flower in a paper towel to place it in the center of a heavy, hardcover book. Close the book, and leave the weight of the book against the flower. After a couple weeks, you may open it to reveal a preserved flower. Then, you can laminate the delicate remains to be used for a multitude of purposes such as a bookmark.

Dry out your flower bouquet

In addition to laminating your flowers, it is possible to dry out your bouquet. To maintain that perfect circular 3-D shape, tie a piece of twine around the bunch and hang it upside down to let it dry out. After a few weeks the flowers will keep their shape but give the result of a nice rustic-looking bouquet.

Make a crafty new artwork

Like many other 3-D objects, petals and leaves can even be recycled into works of art. Pick the flowers just before they wilt and deconstruct its parts. Throw away the stem and glue the petals and leaves onto pottery or canvas. Once affixed to the surface, they will result in a beautiful mixed-media work that allows the petals and leaves to remain intact.

Send your flowers to the compost

Finally, if you do not want any remembrance of the flowers you receive on Valentine’s Day, the best environmental option is to simply place your flowers in the nearest compost bin. If you happen to have a flower garden, grind the flowers into fine bits and sprinkle them across the flowerbed. Because their beautiful life comes from the ground, flowers can be put to a greater use as nutrients for the next generation of blossoms. The decaying of flowers is great for your compost and enriches the soil to make the next bloom even better. Generating the next great Valentine’s gift gets a little trickier each and every year. From one consumer to another, remember to think of the environment while deciding what to do with your leftover Valentine’s Day waste.