On a traditional Valentineâ€™s Day, flowers, chocolates and cards are the most commonly bought gifts. In fact, they are so traditional that most people donâ€™t stop and think that these gifts are quite environmentally unfriendly. Unless they are organic flowers and chocolates, and cards printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink, they have a substantial negative impact to the environment. This year, if you want to treat your Valentine and be good to our planet at the same time, opt rather for one or more of the 5 green gifts ideas below.
1. Organic Flowers
Giving flowers and roses has become a huge Valentineâ€™s Day tradition.Â These cut flowers often come with a high environmental cost, however, as most of them are grown in South American and Asian countries and imported into the United States. This shipping practice contributes to high transportation costs as many pollutants are unnecessarily released into the atmosphere including carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas.Â Also, harmful chemicals and pesticides are often used to grow these flowers commercially such as soil fumigants, carbofuron, diuron, and pentachloronitrobenzene, and other chemicals which are known carcinogens.
Despite all of these alarming facts, this does not mean Valentineâ€™s Day has to be flower-less.Â Flowers, too, can be grown organically (that is, without those harmful chemicals) and are sold at local farmersâ€™ markets; visit Local Harvest to conveniently locate the nearest organic flower vendor.Â Organic flowers can even be ordered online through Organic Bouquet or California Organic Flowers.
Another option is to buy your Valentine a potted (organic) plant.Â Not only will the plant last a lot longer but the flowers will continue to grow along with your love. And if you are not the traditional type, give herb plants, rose bushes, or even small fruit trees that can be planted in a yard.Â
2. Recycled Valentineâ€™s Day Cards
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 180 million Valentineâ€™s Day cards are exchanged each year.Â That is a lot of paper waste and chemical use that could easily be avoided by sending an e-card instead.Â 123 Greetings offers a wide variety of free e-cards that you can send out to as many people as you want.Â If you still want to keep things traditional, making a card out of recycled material is a great way to reduce waste and show your loved one how much you care about them through a personalized gift.Â Martha Stewart and Crafting a Green World have great ideas to help you create a memorable card.Â Another option is giving a Valentineâ€™s Day card with seeds embedded in it so that the card can be planted and grown into flowers and herbs after it is read.Â Pristine Planet and Sustainable Sentiments provide a wide variety of eco-friendly cards that are made from recycled materials, use soy ink, and can be planted afterwards.
3. Eco-Friendly Valentineâ€™s Dinner
Instead of worrying about getting a reservation at that fancy restaurant only to wait an hour for your food, stay home with your Valentine and have a home cooked vegetarian or vegan dinner.Â Eating vegetarian provides many benefits such as preserving water used to feed livestock as well as saves energy from processing costs.Â Check out Choose Veg and Veg Web for an extensive collection of recipes and The Organic Wine Company for some great eco-friendly drinks.Â By staying at home, you will also eliminate the environmental transportation costs of going to a restaurant as well as saving money.
4. Organic Massage Oils and Bath Products
Valentinesâ€™ Day is a popular day for indulging in baths and massage products.Â But many of these products contain harmful chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, PEG, propylene glycol (PG), Parabens, FD&C color pigments, and synthetic fragrances in addition to utilizing unsustainable practices to grow ingredients.Â These ingredients can cause skin irritation, disrupt the endocrine system, increase the risk for cancer, and harm the environment through their run-off.Â Check out Northern Naturals, Fresh Organics, and Inara for some great organic soaps, lotions, bath and massage oils, and bubble baths.
5. Socially Responsible Chocolate and Jewelry
When deciding what kinds of chocolates to get for your Valentine, remember to always choose Fair Trade.Â Fair Trade chocolate means that the price paid to the cocoa farmers is high enough so they may sustain themselves and send their children to school. Fair trade also ensures that workers are treated correctly and that the crops are grown in environmentally friendly ways.Â Divine Chocolate, from Ghana, is one of the leading brands of Fair Trade chocolate.Â Store locations can be found on their website.Â Some other great Fair Trade chocolate sources are Endangered Species Chocolate, Theo Chocolate, and other chocolate brands that have the fair trade certified logo.
If this year you are planning on getting jewelry, especially diamonds, for your Valentine, make sure that they are conflict-free.Â That means that these diamonds and jewels did not rely on exploited or slave labor to mine and are not illegally smuggled.Â Some places you can find conflict-free jewelry is at Global Exchange Store, Ten Thousand Villages, and Brilliant Earth.Â Many of this jewelry is also fair trade as manufacturers are paid a fair price for the jewelry they create.
Valentinesâ€™ Day can be a great day to express your love and appreciation, but remember that it is still just one day out of the year where we must continue to live greener.Â This Valentineâ€™s Day, go green with these five great eco-friendly ideas from Just Live Greener and show your Valentine how much you care!