Eco-Friendly Valentine: Think Outside the Chocolate Box
Valentine's Day is about love—for a partner, friend and even yourself. If you give gifts on Valentine's Day, consider exactly what goes into each gift and which gifts end up in a landfill. Here are some things to consider and how you can give the perfect (yet socially responsible and eco-friendly) gift to the one you love.
Cards and Wrapping
The Greeting Card Association reports that 145 million cards are exchanged worldwide on Valentine’s Day (not including classroom valentines!). That’s a lot of trees and chemical processing going into something that ultimately just gets recycled or landfilled. Unless you're writing a personal note, I suggest foregoing the card altogether. If you're putting pen to paper, consider a hand-made card from recycled paper. Or go all-out with wildflower seeds embedded in the paper (like this one, or to be truly romantic, make your own). Save more paper and skip the envelope.
Similarly, try to avoid gift wrap that will just be thrown out; especially the metallic variety as it cannot be recycled. Try reusing gift bags and tissue paper, newspaper, or Furoshiki instead.
Stereotypical? Definitely. Appreciated? Probably! If flowers are your go-to, look for those that were grown locally, without pesticides and other less-than-pretty consequences. Alternatively, consider a potted plant that will last longer than cut flowers (a good metaphor for your relationship, too!).
Look for fair trade to avoid cacao harvested by exploited workers, and organic since it’s such a pesticide-intensive crop. Take a peak at the ingredients and steer clear of palm oil—it is causing mass deforestation around the globe, which contributes to climate change.
Bubble Bath and Perfume
Gift baskets intended to pamper are a great thought, but these products are often made with chemicals, carcinogens, endocrine disrupters and asthma-inducers. Look for products on the Think Dirty app that score a 0-3. You can also put in some extra effort and make them yourself. My new go-to easy gift is mixing Epsom salts with a couple drops of lavender essential oil in a mason jar—instant relaxation!
Experiential gifts such as a home cooked (organic/local) meal, tickets to an exhibit, or simply a night in with a glass of (local/organic) wine, can be the most romantic (and eco-friendly) option of all.
Show some love this Valentine's Day, for your Valentine, yourself—and the planet. How will you celebrate?