Valentine’s Day gives us an excuse to spoil our loved ones more than usual. It’s become such a big holiday that last year spending on gifts climbed to nearly $20 billion. Most is spent on candy, flowers and jewelry, most of which is not produced or harvested sustainably.
If you participate in this holiday, read on! There are several ways in which you can minimize waste and exercise eco-friendly shopping habits.
Cards and sweet notes are the first thing we exchange on Valentine’s Day and we exchange roughly a billion cards each year. That is a lot of paper; so make sure you recycle the envelopes and any cards you choose not to cherish forever. When you buy your own valentines, be on the lookout for cards made from recycled paper. You can order valentines on recycled paper from a variety of stores. Even better, you can make your own using items and scraps around your house. It’s fun, free, personal, and wastes a little less!
Chocolate gifts are second to none on Valentine’s Day. We spend well over a billion dollars on chocolates and candies alone. Chocolate production continues to climb year after year, and with it comes increasing levels of deforestation and herbicide resistance. Deforestation causes destruction of wildlife habitats, reduction in plant diversity and soil erosion. Excessive use of herbicides is detrimental to both the land and the pesticide sprayers’ health. There are many solutions farmers can implement such as planting under natural tree-cover, which provides necessary shade and oxygen replenishment. We, as consumers, can also help the cause and make a pledge to only buy fair trade, organically produced chocolate. Some of my favorites are Theo Chocolate and Green & Blacks. Do you have any favorite eco-friendly chocolate companies?
The cut flowers most of us have access to in this country have been grown in harsh conditions and transported quite a distance. Although picking up a bouquet at the super market is quick and easy, doing this encourages the growing conditions, labor conditions and excessive transportation of the South American flower operations outlined in my blog post linked above. Buying seasonal flowers and finding organic or sustainable florists will support the local economy, decrease transportation emissions and much more. Join me in following these tips this Valentine’s Day!
If you plan on purchasing other items this Valentine’s Day, consider these shopping tips, look for organic spas and beauty shops, and buy ethical jewelry. Are you getting a gift for your pet? Get a toy made from recycled materials!
How else will you be eco-friendly this Valentine’s Day?