Zero-Waste Date Ideas

You don’t have to spend a lot of money—or resources—to have a fulfilling and purposeful date. Finding ways to give back or learn about sustainability together can bring you closer and help you learn more about your shared values and individual passions. You can share a meaningful, impactful and fun experience with your partner by infusing your upcoming dates with these eco-friendly and mindful ideas!

1. Go on a zero-waste picnic

If the weather’s nice, why not grab some of your favorite foods and head to the nearest park together for a picnic? Except this time, try to be mindful of your plastic usage by packing reusable straws, cutlery, and containers.

You can also avoid plastic waste by serving everything tapas-style with food that can easily be shared. You can even wrap cookies, fruit, bread or other deserts in beeswax or pack in reusable zip-lock bags or jars. Having a zero waste picnic can help you incorporate zero-waste living in your relationship and get you both in the habit of opting for reusable items.

2. Volunteer at a beach or park cleanup

For a first date with my current partner, he asked me if I wanted to go pick up trash with him on the beach. That practically won my hippie heart over immediately and I realized how easily you can incorporate a love for sustainability into a date. If you’re passionate about cleaner oceans or green spaces you can join an organized cleanup in your area—or bring along a trash bag and gloves for just the two of you. You’ll feel good knowing you made an impact together and you can chat more about your values during the date.

3. Help out at the animal shelter

Animal shelters are often in need of volunteers to help support their operations. You can search for the local animal shelters in your area and see what their needs are. Some shelters need help taking the dogs on walks or need someone to keep the animals energized and socialized with playtime. Other opportunities to help out together include assisting with social media, feeding, cleaning up after the animals, and helping with fundraisers.

4. Plan a planting date

You can get crafty and learn about ecology at the same time with a planting date. Head to a nearby plant shop together and check out the native and drought-tolerant plant sections. Chat with a store employee to give you tips about proper soil, care, and maintenance—they’ll also help you pick plants that’ll fit your lifestyle. Succulents and cacti are perfect because they’re cute, require minimal care and last a long time.

To top it all off, gather your craft supplies and decorate some pots with nontoxic paint and leave them to dry. When they’re ready, fill them with soil, sand, and rocks to help transplant your new plants into the decorated pots.

5. Make a vegan dinner at home

Dinner dates at home are great because you get to work together, learn new skills while following a recipe, and enjoy a delicious meal at the end. If you’re both vegan, this might be a normal dinner date for you; but if you’re not, you can learn about the environmental impact of meat and dairy by making a vegan meal together. Try finding a vegan alternative recipe to your favorite recipe—it’ll be fun shopping for new ingredients together and maybe trying alternatives for the first time. After the meal, if you both enjoyed it, you can chat about making vegan dinner night a more regular occurrence.

What are your favorite low-impact date ideas? Share in the comments below!


Leah Thomas is a contributing writer at The Good Trade with a passion for wellness, inclusion and the environment. She works on the communications team at Patagonia and is a sustainable living blogger at Green Girl Leah. You can connect with her on Instagram @GreenGirlLeah