About 17 billion dollars worth of Valentine’s Day gifts and cards are purchased each year. The three most popular gifts, chocolate, roses and jewelry, are all ecologically suspicious. The growing of cocoa beans used to make chocolate leads to “forest deforestation, heavy pesticide use and unconscionable child labor practices.” Roses, (in fact all types of flowers) require “heavy pesticide use and can carry with them surprisingly large amounts of carbon emissions, caused during transportation.” Finally, the mining of many metals that are used to create jewelry “has been linked to massive pollution and major human rights issues.”
But don’t cancel Valentine’s Day yet. We found the following ideas for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day on Greenzer.com
Gifts for Her
So they’re not the regular red roses that are oh so popular at this time of year (although you can get an eco-friendly bouquet of those, too), but did you know that orange roses are said to symbolize passion and desire; feelings we think are very well suited to the occasion. These roses are VeriFlora certified for having low environmental impact and a portion of the proceeds from each Breakthrough bouquet goes to an international human rights organization. Plus, with two dozen stems, this bouquet is big enough to really stand out from your regular “I’m sorry” flowers.
There’s nothing like a few sweets word in a card to convey your feelings on February 14th, and this one has it all; letterpress design, organic handmade tree-free paper, soy-based ink, and–here’s the clincher–wildflower seeds embedded in the card. When she’s done displaying this card on her desk, she can sink it in the soil and she’ll have fresh flowers from you in no time at all.
Patagonia Lightweight Wool Scarf - $50.00
For the times when you can’t be there personally to keep her warm, this very Valentine’s-appropriate red scarf is cuddly and super soft thanks to its 100% merino wool and is wide enough to serve as a wrap to be used over lighter layers on summer evenings. Since it’s made by Patagonia, a company as planet-focused as we are, she’ll also be huddling up to environmentally sound business practices.
Reese Gift Wrap by Erin Ruth - $10.00
To make things even more exciting on Valentine’s, why not wrap whatever you get for your lovely lady (aside from flowers, that is). Where before we might have tried to steer you away from using the extra resource of wrapping paper, you can feel a little better about it when you use this gift wrap made from 50% recycled content and printed with soy-based inks. The classy red and white design is guaranteed to have the gift inside looking even more fabulous.
Jill Italiano Circle Ring - $40.00
The whole premise behind wedding rings–depending on who you ask–is that they represent the endlessness of your love. If you’re not quite ready for that ring yet or if you’ve already given your beloved one, you can still give her this circle ring from Jill Italiano, which features a simple band with simple silver circle design. Great for symbolism and great for the earth because it uses recycled sterling silver.
Life is Sweet Valentine Chocolate - $34.95
Seriously sweet on every level, we’re just daring you to try and find a woman who wouldn’t be happy to receive these. Shaped like roses and hearts or stamped with a short sentiment, she’ll nibble her way through flavors of lavender and caramel, black currant and sparkling raspberry wine; all of which are organic and fair trade. In simple pink boxes, you can opt for the 9 piece set for someone somewhat into chocolate or get the 15 piece set for a true chocoholic.
Nashelle Designs Lucky Key Necklace - $84.00
She already has the key to your heart, so look past any potential corniness and give her a symbolic one, too. We like this one from Nashelle Designs for its subtle styling and specials details, like the tiny pink topaz teardrop hanging near the key and the heart shape made by the teeth of the key, and since it’s handmade and fairly traded in the U.S. you won’t have to worry about it causing overseas suffering. Eye up the jewelry your flame wears now and use that information to decide between the gold and silver options.
It’s been shown that a lot of the basis for stress inside a relationship comes from the stresses outside of it (money, work, etc.); by that same logic helping the lady in your life feel less stressed about all that stuff will help the two of you connect better. You can use this Stressbuster Gift Basket to accomplish just that. Pop the Peaceful Music CD in the player, brew her a cup of the Ambrosia White Plum tea and draw her a bath full of lavender chamomile honey bubble bath. Save the rest of the goodies for future nights that necessitate de-stressing–they’re inevitable.
Cosabella Bamboo Robe - $145.00
The idea behind getting your lovely some lingerie for Valentine’s Day is a nice one, but it doesn’t always play out so well; there can be sizing issues and simple divisions of taste (she may not share your feelings on mesh as a nightgown fabric). A robe is the perfect solution. It’ll get plenty of use–arguably more than lingerie–can be just as sexy (or PG), and is a lot easier to pick the right size in. Better yet, the bamboo fabric has sustainability on its side.
Gifts for Him
Organic Fruit Basket Extravaganza - $159.95
Since Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year, more of us are likely to be off of work. You can grab this pre-prepped picnic basket (much easier than wandering the aisles at Whole Foods and hunting down a basket) and head out for a lazy afternoon noshing on organic goodies that range from pears to green onion cheddar cheese to sparkling cider to fruit sugar cookies to…well, you get the idea–we’ll let you discover the rest.
Red Flat Card with Chocolate Envelope by Waste Not Paper - $10.00 (set of 10)
Nothing mushy or over-the-top here, just a simple red card made from sustainably-forested and post-consumer recycled paper. It may not contain a witty theme or intricate design, but it’s perfect as a luxurious base for a good old-fashioned love note detailing everything that drew you to him and everything that’s going to keep you there.
Elwood Clothing Hyde Wallet - $25.00
Maybe it won’t strike you as the most romantic of gifts, but just keep in mind that guys tend to not be as big of fans of flowers and chocolate. However, they’re usually plenty appreciative of things that are practical and have a bit of a cool factor. This wallet has both covered. The faux ostrich leather look has hipness to spare and the hemp used on the interior is a great sustainable fabric choice, and at $25.00 it’s easy on your wallet. Plus, he can use it when he’s paying the check for your Valentine’s dinner.
Just because it’s marketed for babies, doesn’t mean it won’t be just the right thing for the guy you call “baby”; there’s a catch to this gift, though–you have to give it in addition to a nice massage. Made from all natural ingredients that are safe enough for the tenderest of skin, like essential oils grown sustainably and pesticide-free, it won’t have any of the creepy chemicals found in some conventional lotions and oils. Get ready to work out some kinks.
BsaB 2.5″ Beeswax Coral Candle - $17.00
Conventional candles can release more than just fragrances like Minty Melon; chemicals that are potentially harmful to lung health may go up in smoke, too. This candle is made from 100% beeswax, which has a natural scent to rival any artificial one and an entirely-elemental look. For Valentine’s Day try lining up a few to cast a nice, green glow on the evening.