Valentine’s Day is big business…and it has a big impact on our environment. They say that 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each year, and the holiday takes the #1 spot for fresh flower purchases, with around a billion valentines sent out each year. Those billion cards, if you were to lay them end to end would stretch around the world 5 times – that is a lot of trees! So, with the planet in mind, here are 14 ideas for the 14th of February – some great alternatives to the traditional options for the one you love…and they all show some love for the environment too:
- Greeting cards made from recycled or tree-free paper (this typically is indicated on the back of the card), or send an e-card
- Chocolates which are organic or fair trade (conventional confections utilize toxic pesticides, has caused wars in Africa, led to deforestation, and pays meager wages to workers – some of which are child workers).
- Flowers that are either organically, locally, or fair trade grown are great options. Locally grown items cuts down on the miles they travel to reach you
- Jewelry considerations included pre-owned, jewelry made from recycled metals, or purchasing from jewelers who are certified to be sourcing precious metal and gemstones in an ecologically (and socially) responsible manner.
- Dinner either at a local restaurant specializing in organic or locally grown food, or make your own special meal with organic or locally grown items.
- Earth friendly candles such as beeswax ( which are natural, renewable, and some say they help clean your home’s air of allergens), or soy are a much better options than conventional candles which are made of petroleum-based paraffin wax, synthetic dyes and artificial fragrances – all of which are toxic to produce and result in indoor air pollutants. Plus, did you know that cheaper wicks may contain traces of heavy metals, which can get released into the air during combustion?
- Perfumes and Colognes which are natural are better for the environment and the person’s health. Most perfume fragrances are synthetic and often made from toxic petrochemicals derived from crude oil, so instead why not make your own and put it in a pretty bottle?
- Wildlife reserve, park, or natural areas are great laces to book a retreat. Your business will help support the running of such establishments!
- Make a donation to an environmental organization on behalf of your Valentine.
- Wines which are organic or biodynamic are excellent choices. A vineyard that is certified Biodynamic meets and typically exceeds the standards and regulations for organic certified farming, so there’s no pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, growth stimulants certified farming.
- Lipstick choice is also important for that Valentine’s kiss as two people will end up wearing it! Be sure to wear one with NO LEAD (remember that New York Times news report a few years back?). Who really wants a toxic kiss?
- Nighttime fashions are also popular on Valentine’s Day, so when picking out lingerie or those heart print boxers – opt for fabrics which are organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, or recycled fabrics.
- Books of poetry or great love stories from authors such as Shakespeare are even better if they’re recycled, or electronic. E book readers, and used books save trees (and your wallet).
- Solar powered gadgets are great too. If you plan to gift a digital device, a phone or a watch, look for the ones that are powered by solar cells. I saw these cute little flower pots with flowers at the drug store which dance around all day – all thanks to solar power.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day!