Green Up Your Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day has been around for hundreds of years, but we haven’t always celebrated it the way we do today.  The first valentines were given in the nineteenth century, and commercial marketing and production are responsible for the mass produced, very consumer oriented holiday we now have.  Here are a few facts about how much Valentine’s Day consumes each year.

Around the world, people send about a billion valentines every year.  That’s almost as many cards as are sent during Christmas.  A quarter of all the seasonal cards sent each year are for Valentine’s Day, and every year we go through more than thirty-six million boxes of chocolate shaped like heart.  Add to that the demand for fresh flowers, particularly out of season roses, and the fact that over sixty percent of the population buys commercial valentines, and you’ll soon see a major environmental impact.

So what should you do if you don’t feel like contributing to this enormous waste stream?  You don’t have to boycott Valentine’s Day or give up on romance.  There are plenty of things you can do to cut down your environmental impact.  For instance, consider making a card out of recycled or reused materials, purchasing one made from recycled or tree free materials, or just sending an electronic card instead.

Give organic or fair trade chocolate that’s packaged minimally, and pick flowers that are locally grown, or give dried flowers grown in season.  If the person you’d like to make feel special has a favorite cause, think about donating to it in his or her name instead of a gift that’ll take up space or end up being thrown out.

Think hard about your gifts, too.  Offer up useful, practical items, rather than things that’ll take up space or be thrown out.  If you’re giving jewelry, make sure you use a jeweler that’s certified for sourcing metals and stones in a responsible manner, or give used jewelry.  Other options include jewelry made out of wood or other interesting materials and jewelry made locally by independent artists.  Natural fragrances and essential oils are also an excellent choice, and they’re healthier than mainstream perfumes and colognes.

Gift certificates to a healthy spa make a great choice, as does dinner at a great organic or local restaurant.  Of course, you can also cook fantastic meals at home, too.  Valentine’s Day can be something special just between the two of you.  There’s no need to involve restaurants or big companies.  If you live in an area where the weather is favorable, think about a trip to a natural area, such as a wildlife preserve or a park.  This can be pleasant, even if February is chilly where you are.

These are just a few of the ideas you can use to make your Valentine’s Day a much greener one.  This year, say goodbye to the consumer waste stream and the mainstream marketing, and choose a unique and green way to tell that special someone you really care.  It can make a difference!

Photo by: Albachiaraa –

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