While red and pink are traditional Valentine’s Day hues, we’re looking to turn the holiday green with a few romantic and environmentally-friendly ideas!
Put on Your Chef’s Hat:
Cooking dinner for your sweetie isn’t only thoughtful – it can be downright environmental if you do it right. Preparing a meal allows you to shop for the ingredients yourself, assuring that you’re using organic, local, or responsibly sourced ingredients – a guarantee that you don’t get at most restaurants. For extra green points, you could make a vegetarian or vegan dish. Your darling will appreciate the effort!
Eating at home will also ease your conscience over participating in the culture of waste that permeates most restaurant environments. Because of large portions and inefficient product ordering, most restaurants contribute to heaps of food waste. The average restaurant also uses large amounts of energy to prepare food and to keep the building running (heating the space, providing light and water, running kitchen equipment, etc.). If you’re not much of a cook and you do choose to take your valentine out on the town, choose an establishment that practices sustainability.
For the Sweet Tooth:
Don’t buy any old candy for your sweetheart. The chocolate you find in most stores is a product cultivated at the expense of the environment. Large-scale cocoa production involves the use of pesticides, extraction of raw materials, industrial processing, energy expenditures related to shipping, materials used for packaging and more. Chocolate also comes with a human cost, with an estimated 100,000 children (as of 2011) forced into slave labor in cocoa-producing countries like the Ivory Coast.
Luckily, there are many fair-trade chocolate options on the market. For example, Equal Exchange is a company that offers organic and fairly traded chocolate. They also sell organic and fair trade coffee and tea if your darling is sweet on caffeine. DAGOBA organic chocolate offers responsibly-sourced products made from organic ingredients. You can buy from both of these companies online.
Rethink Those Dozen Roses:
The commercial florist industry is quite wasteful, with chemical pesticide use, emissions from running greenhouses, plastic use, plant waste and shipping to consider. If you choose to buy fresh cut flowers, try buying a bouquet from a florist who uses environmental business practices like:
- Using vases that were previously owned
- Using bows, ribbons and paper made from recycled materials
- Sourcing flowers locally
You could also show off your creative side by making a bouquet of roses from used book pages or old sheet music. Check out this sheet music bouquet tutorial that I found on pinterest, or you can find others online. This is a great option because your sweetie will be able to display these recycled paper flowers for much longer than the real thing. Purchasing a potted plant is a greener option than cut flowers as well.
Skip The Gifts:
To truly cut back on the waste associated with Valentine’s Day, you might want to consider skipping gift-giving altogether. Suggest that you spend the day together doing something that you both enjoy. Put together a romantic picnic or hold hands and take a long walk. A memory lasts a lot longer than cut flowers or chocolates and it’s a whole lot more meaningful.
If your sweetheart is eco-minded, he or she will fall head over heels when you choose to celebrate your love in the greenest way possible!