Sexy sustainable relationships

How to make your date night more fun, more romantic and sustainable.

When thinking of sexy things, sustainability might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but living a more environmentally friendly life can be advantageous for a lot of different economic, personal and romantic reasons. There are plenty of ways to still enjoy date night with your significant other while still being environmentally conscious. 

Roses and flowers are something commonly gifted on date nights and anniversaries, and although beautiful, they wither and die after a short-lived period of time. Flower arrangements can also be expensive and can break the bank if you opt for delivery.

Kelsey Culbertson, senior in environmental science, is the campus and community events intern for the Live Green! leadership team and Live Green! liaison for student organization The Green Umbrella.

“Instead of a bouquet of flowers, get an actual plant because it's something you can take care of and it will last more than a couple days,” Culbertson said.

If your special someone really loves flowers, look for RainForest Alliance certified flowers, and if chocolate is a must, opt for Fair Trade Certified.

Merry Rankin, program manager for facilities planning and management, is the director of sustainability. She said being a conscious consumer is extremely important when living a sustainable lifestyle.

For sustainable and low-cost date ideas for students, Outdoor Recreation Services has affordable options for students who like to get active or go outdoors. There are free fitness classes like yoga and Zumba, as well as outdoor excursions. 

RJ Green, sustainability strategic planning intern for the Live Green! leadership team, said these outings can strengthen your relationship but also put it to the test.

“You will know whether you are destined to be with somebody after a camping trip; you will learn everything you need to know,” Green said.

For students of legal drinking age, being environmentally conscious about drinking on date night or when out on the town can also be economic and potentially more safe. After a Friday night, it's no secret that Chamberlain Street is usually littered with straws and broken bottles.

One way to prevent excess waste is to take advantage of the Mug Night promotions on Thursdays. Mugs are a sound economic investment as well as being more sustainable and fun. If you forget your mug at home, ask the bartender for a reusable glass instead of plastic, or ask to leave out the straw. Additionally, some establishments on Welch Avenue serve drinks exclusively in glassware.

Drinking at home can also be more environmentally friendly.

"It is much more economical to stay home and drink," Green said. "You use your own glassware [and] limit your travel, which is not only sustainable but also more safe."

When it comes to dress and appearance for your date, fast fashion is on the rise and cheaper than ever. The longevity of these products are short, and a lot of the styles are temporary trends. Thrift fashion is a more sustainable alternative, and Ames is also full of consignment and secondhand shops full of unique finds at the lowest prices.

Krishaun Burns, senior in public relations and event management, is the marketing and communications intern for the Live Green! leadership team and said that borrowing and sharing clothes can be an alternative.

“Do a clothing swap with friends; just swap a pair of shoes or something so that it’s new to you,” Burns said.

If colognes and cosmetics are something you regularly purchase, there are a lot of different things to look for if you want to consume sustainably.

Depending on what you look for, you might opt for cruelty free, palm-oil free, organic, ethically sourced or sustainably packaged products. Finding the right products for you might be tricky, but there are a lot of resources to help you find what you need. 

“If you Google “ecolabels,” there are a ton of different labels that indicate certain certifications; some are government regulated and other accredited agencies,” said Meghan Main, junior in communication studies and campus and community events intern for the Live Green! leadership team.

To spice up your relationship, try cooking for your significant other. It’s thoughtful, cheaper and a bit more personal to dine with just the two of you rather than a crowded restaurant. If you are a terrible chef, try a local restaurant, and if you opt for takeout, ask them to leave out the plastic silverware and single use products.  

“Dine by candlelight to save electricity,” Rankin said.  

When thinking about the environment and its role in your romantic life, think about your significant other. Try to remain independent from the commercialism around love and romance and think about things that are more useful or enjoyable. 

“Giant teddy bears that read ‘Love Machine’ usually end up in the landfill,” Rankin said. 

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