Think green this Valentine’s Day

(Originally published February 2008, last updated January 2011)

Valentine’s Day is an occasion celebrated on February 14 and while it has a very long history dating back hundreds of years, the scale of the occasion we have today is largely thanks (or no thanks) to marketers.

Some fast consumption related facts about Valentines day :

– Around a billion valentines are sent each year globally, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas

– 25 percent of all seasonal cards annually are valentines

– Over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold each year.

– Valentine’s Day is the top holiday for fresh flower purchases with red roses being most popular

– 10% of engagements happen on Valentine’s day

– Over 60 percent of planned to by at least one valentine last year

Those statistics come from American Greetings Corporation

Valentines Day is big business and as such has the potential to have substantial impact on the environment. For example, the one billion cards laid end to end would stretch around the world 5 times! That’s a lot of trees.

Valentines day gifts with the planet in mind

If Valentines Day is an important day for you or the one you love; then you can also show a bit of extra love for the environment by carefully considering what you buy. Here’s some ideas:

– Cards made from recycled or tree-free paper (this will be indicated on the card)

– Consider sending an e-card instead using one of the many quality services around.

Fair trade and/or organic chocolate

– Choose organic and/or locally grown flowers

– Make a donation to an environmental organization on behalf of the person.

– If you wish to give jewelry, consider pre-owned or purchasing from jewelers who are certified to be sourcing precious metals and gemstones in an ecologically and socially responsible manner. Or considering something really offbeat like a wooden ring – they look amazing.

– Buy the person a gift certificate for holistic therapies e.g. massage, naturopath, health spa.

– Arrange dinner at a local restaurant specializing in organic or locally grown food. Eating locally cuts down on food miles.

– Perhaps make dinner yourself using locally grown ingredients, accompanied by a nice organic wine. Set the mood with earth-friendly candles. The effort you put in will be sure to impress!

– Book a retreat in a wildlife reserve, park or natural area. Your business will help support the running of such establishments.

– Give natural perfumes and fragrances. Popular mainstream fragrances are chemical cocktails. By buying natural fragrances, you’ll be showing you not only care for the environment, but the person’s health.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking, but as someone not known to be much of a romantic, I’m sure that Green Living Tips readers would have a stack of other great ideas – please add them below!