My Green Valentine

Many people believe that Valentine’s Day is a holiday made up by the card industry just to increase consumer spending and to make single people feel bad, and maybe they are right. According to a new survey by the National Retail Association, the American 2013 Valentine’s Day season is expected to reach 18.9 billion in spending. The survey found 51.0% of gift givers will buy candy (1.6 billion dollars), 36.6% will give flowers (1.9 billion dollars), 19.7% will give jewelry (4.4 billion dollars), 15.6% will buy clothing (1.6 billion dollars), and 15.0% will buy gift cards (1.5 billion dollars).

I appreciate a cute card or bouquet of flowers as much as the next person, but unfortunately these Valentines gifts are not usually green or eco friendly. Below I have compiled a list of traditional Valentines gifts and practices and I have paired them with a more eco-friendly option. Enjoy!

Store Bought Cards

As romantic as a card that sings Justin Beiber’s “Baby” when opened is, what are the chances that the card won’t end up in the trash after a week? According to Hallmark, over 151 million store bought cards are exchanged every year for Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of cards and subsequently a lot of trees go into making those cards.

Instead Try:

Try making your own card out of recyclable materials or leftover objects found around the house. If you are not the creative type a paper free idea is to send an e-card. If you still want to buy a store bought cards, look for products made from recycled materials.

Store Bought Chocolate

Chocolate can also have a nasty environmental impact. Not only does the crop cocoa requires the second largest use of pesticides, but store bought chocolates come with a ridiculous amount packaging and preservatives.

Instead Try:

There are many brands of luxury bars that are either fair trade or organic. Another option without excess packaging is to go to your nearest candy shop and pick up some home-made fudge or chocolates.


Roses may smell sweet but the practices that go into them are not. For most of the United States Valentine’s Day takes place during the winter which means it’s not a hospitable habitat for growing flowers.  This means the flowers have to be flown in from greenhouses from as far away as Ecuador. Also, the growing of greenhouse roses can rely heavily on pesticides, which have been linked to birth defects among greenhouse workers children.

Instead Try:

If you still want to buy a bouquet of roses but want to reduce your footprint buy organic or local grown flowers. An even more romantic gesture would be to plant your own rose bush for your backyard to represent your love blooming eternally.


We’ve been told that diamonds are a girl’s best friend and that every kiss begins with Kaye, but what goes into making bling? To produce 1 oz of gold requires 20 tons of waste rock and can create Acidic Mine Drainage which is harmful to the environment.  Diamond mining is also extremely destructive to the environment, not to mention blood diamonds and other ethical issues attached to mining diamonds and gems.

Instead Try:

There are many eco-responsible options if you want to buy jewelry for Valentine’s Day. One option is to buy jewelry that is fair trade. Another option is to buy jewelry made from recycled metals or re used stones. A fun option would be to buy a vintage piece brought from an antique or vintage shop.


Remember, Valentine’s Day is about having fun and showing the people you love how you care about them.  

For more Green Valentines Suggestions check out these pages by the Sierra Club or check out ENN’s past article on green dating:




green heart via shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

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