For many of us, Valentine’s Day means going to a restaurant for an extravagant meal, purchasing gifts, consuming a whole lot of resources, and spending money. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans will spend over $20 billion this Valentine’s Day. Looking in greater detail, those planning on celebrating plan to spend:
- $3.9 billion on jewelry
- $3.5 billion on an evening out
- $2.1 billion on clothing
- $1.9 billion on flowers
- $1.8 billion on candy
- $1.3 billion on gift cards
Valentine’s Day is big business and, as such, can have a substantial impact on the environment. Between the millions of paper cards sent and received (some of which are tossed right in the trash), the air-freighted red roses, the restaurant meals, heart-shaped chocolate boxes, and the highly non-ecological nylon teddy bears, it’s safe to say that Valentine’s Day isn’t the most environmentally-friendly of holidays.
Yes, Valentine’s Day has become overrun with consumerism, but the good news is that you don’t need to throw your sustainable values out of the window in order to celebrate. If Valentine’s Day is important to you and the one you love, be considerate of the planet as you celebrate. Spread love, not waste! Below are some easy and creative ideas to help you make your romantic day as eco-friendly as possible.
- Make your own DIY handmade card made from recycled materials
- Give home-made gifts in general if you’re crafty – art, something knitted, etc.
- Buy living houseplants instead of flowers
- Search vintage for jewelry or other retro finds
- If buying new, opt for eco-friendly and fair-trade jewelry
- Fair-trade organic vegan chocolate
- Fund an entire acre of rainforest in your beloved’s name
- TheWorld Land Trust operates a Buy An Acre fund allows you to fund the protection of rainforest lands across Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina against illegal logging and habitat destruction
- Rainforest Concernuses donations to support acres in places from Chile to Sri Lanka
- Adopt an animal – Check outthe Humane Society’s website or ASPCA to find a shelter near you.
- Eco-certified wine and a reusable wine tote
- A subscription to a local CSA
- Give the gift of an experience – tickets to a concert or play, a yoga retreat, or a massage, for example
- Make a donation to a cause your sweetheart is passionate about in his or her honor
- Refillable water bottle or coffee mug
- If you want to dine out, arrange dinner at a restaurant that specializes in vegan and locally grown food to cut down food miles
- Even better than going out to eat, cook at home! Remember to purchase local organic ingredients for your meal
- Plant a tree together
- Visit a national park or local wildlife area
- Go ice skating, snow shoeing, hiking, camping or any winter activity that allows you both to get outside to enjoy some fresh air and reconnect with nature
- Have a romantic, movie night in by the fireplace
- Take a class together – like a language class, vegan cooking class, or dance class
- Check out an art exhibit
- Attend a concert
- Memorize and recite a poem, serenade your love with a song that you wrote, or simply express your feelings out loud
We hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Remember that even though Valentine’s Day is not a very eco-conscious holiday, it doesn’t mean you have to contribute to the trash! Follow these ideas to have a romantic and eco-friendly celebration.
If you’re looking for other ways in which you can help work towards a sustainable future, be sure to browse through our website. See the Products page to learn about our eco-conscious energy and natural gas solutions, and also make your way to the Environmental Fund page to learn about our Ecogold Environmental Fund. The Ecogold Environmental Fund is a private fund established and funded with contributions from Kiwi Energy in order to support non-profit organizations domestically and abroad.