As February 14th approaches, you may be in search of the perfect card or gift that expresses how much you care for your nearest and dearest. And while there’s nothing wrong with getting all lovey-dovey, we often don’t think about how our romantic Valentine’s gestures impact the planet.
According to Hallmark, a whopping 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged every February 14th, making it the second biggest holiday for exchanging greeting cards after Christmas. Creating these cards requires massive amounts of water and chemicals. And with only a small portion actually making it to the recycling bin, most of these love notes will end up in the landfill, producing methane, a greenhouse gas that’s more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of warming the climate.
Roses are another classic Valentine’s gesture that falls unexpectedly short when it comes to showing the planet some love. We highly recommend you check out this Vox article that dives into the shocking amount of carbon emissions created from importing billions of roses to the United States each year for V Day.
Knowing the facts, we’re challenging you to show your partner, family, friends, and the planet some love this year. To help, we’ve come up with some sustainable swaps and suggestions that will help make your Valentine’s Day more eco-friendly.
1. Gift locally grown, seasonal flowers
Roses are red, and violets are blue.
The environmental impact of bouquets might surprise you.
When you’re out searching for the perfect arrangement, the majority of flowers you’ll find in local florists and supermarkets are actually imported from other countries. This means large amounts of CO2 are emitted through transportation. Carbon emissions associated with cut-flower production can be as high as 3 kg of CO2 per flower, and this doesn’t even factor in the energy used to farm or refrigerate them.
If you want to express your love with a vibrant bouquet, this Valentine’s prioritize buying locally-grown seasonal flowers. Better yet, gift a living plant that your Valentine can enjoy much longer than fresh cut flowers.
2. Gift ethically and sustainably made chocolate
Chocolates are another popular Valentine’s gift with a high social and environmental cost hiding behind the affordable price tag and red foil wrapper. In West Africa, where two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced, the chocolate industry is associated with rampant deforestation and often linked to child labour, forced labour, and widespread economic inequality.
If your Valentine has a sweet tooth, do your research and look for chocolate with the Fairtrade logo. Fairtrade ensures better prices for farmers, decent working conditions, no child labour, sound environmental practices, and strong business relationships. Spending a little more on Fairtrade chocolate ensures a sweet deal for the people and the planet.
3. Send a digital card
With most of our cards ending up in the trash, get sentimental and save some trees by expressing your love with a digital card or video.
If a handwritten note holds more meaning for you, prioritize buying or making cards from recycled paper and skip the plastic jewels and glitter.
4. Give sustainable gifts that are made to last
Instead of rushing out last minute and grabbing something fluffy or plastic from the supermarket, plan ahead and ensure the tangible gifts you give are needed, will be used and appreciated, and sustainably made if possible.
Featured: The Everday Bra and The Everday Bikini Brief from our sustainable underwear collection, The Goods. This is a gift your valentine can enjoy every day. The Goods are made from sustainable materials both the planet and your skin will love. Plus each item plants ten trees.
If you’re gifting jewelry, make sure it has a sustainable sparkle. Check out this article from The Good Trade for a roundup of sustainable jewelry brands.
5. Gift your time
Spending quality time with your Valentine is one of the most sustainable and meaningful ways to show you care when it comes to gifts. Cooking a delicious (vegetarian for extra points) meal, taking a class together, planning a movie night or a day trip out into nature, or volunteering your time together will leave the planet and your partner feeling the love.
6. Plant a tree
Finally, one of the most symbolic ways to express affection for your loved ones and the planet is by planting a tree.
With our Climate+ packages, we make it easy to offset your Valentine’s carbon footprint by planting trees on their behalf. Not only will the trees you plant sequester carbon, but they will help rehabilitate ecosystems, provide jobs across the globe. Nothing says “I love you” like a brighter, more sustainable future.
Looking for an easy and eco-friendly Valentine’s gift that you can make at home? Give the gift of self-care with this simple exfoliating body scrub.