Did you know that Americans spend roughly $14.1 billion on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise each year? Every February 14th, people in the United States send out an estimated:
- 198 million roses.
- 141 million Valentine’s Day cards (not including valentines exchanged among kids in the classroom), making it the second-largest holiday for giving greeting cards.
While we appreciate the concept of celebrating those close to you on Valentine’s Day, it’s important to consider how, like many other holidays, your celebrations may be impacting the environment. Sending cards, gifts, and flowers all come with side effects for the environment, such as the consumption of natural resources and waste generation. This doesn’t have to be the case this Valentine’s Day.
This year, we’d like to encourage you to celebrate a greener Valentine’s Day by showing your love of the planet as you share your love for one another with eco-friendly gifts for your sweetheart and/or friends.
1. Send Out Digital E-Cards
Although the majority of things have transitioned to the digital realm these days, you may be shocked to hear that over 180 million paper cards are still being exchanged each Valentine’s Day. The paper industry has quite a hefty eco-footprint, with paper mills requiring tremendous amounts of water, emitting an abundance of chemicals. To make Valentine’s Day cards, millions of trees are killed, so skip the old-school, earth-harming traditional cards and send out a custom e-card this year. You can create these on websites like Punchbowl and American Greetings, with many other websites offering similar services.
2. Consider the Gift of Time
What’s more precious than time? Sharing your time is one of the most generous gifts you can give! So this year, consider sharing your time with your significant other and/or friends by trying something new together.
One idea to gift is an outdoor adventure. Hiking, canoeing/kayaking, biking, and camping can all be fun and adventurous in the company of your sweetheart! Another idea is to plan an eco-friendly staycation and enjoy each other’s company. You can cook, watch your favorite movie(s), play board games, plant an indoor garden, etc.
3. Give a Gift That Will Benefit the Environment
In recent years, we’ve begun to see that the majority of non-renewable items take a big toll on the environment. Luckily, more and more eco-friendly products have become available. A massage, bamboo cutlery, a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, potted plant, essential oils, sustainable sheets and towels, reusable straws, and sustainable clothing are all meaningful, eco-friendly gift ideas to consider.
4. Indulge in and Give Sustainable Chocolate
Americans spend a whopping $16 billion annually on cocoa products. Unfortunately, cocoa production is often associated with deforestation, child labor, and sometimes even slavery. You can help support sustainably grown and cultivated cocoa by opting for fair-trade chocolate this Valentine’s Day. Because fair-trade certified cocoa is mostly grown in the shade, it helps provide wildlife habitat and protects rain forests.
5. Donate to a Cause
Rather than exchanging gifts or indulging in an expensive, and possibly unsustainable, experience, consider donating to an environmental cause or animal shelter in your loved one’s name.
6. Skip Flowers, Plant a Tree Together
Instead of buying your significant other a beautiful bouquet, you can opt to plant a tree together. If this sounds too intense and you still want to enjoy some beautiful flowers, then visit a botanical garden or nature reserve to take a romantic walk together. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the beauty of nature without having to buy flowers from big chain stores.
Spring Power & Gas hopes that you have a wonderful and eco-conscious Valentine’s Day! While your efforts to help save the environment may sometimes feel small, it’s important to keep in mind this important goal is a collective effort and requires small changes from all of us. Be sure to learn more about Spring Power & Gas and how you can help create a more sustainable future today.