1. Card. According to Greeting Card Association, almost 150 Million Valentine’s Day cards are likely to be sold in the U.S. in 2012, not including the children’s packages of classroom cards. Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card purchasing day, after Christmas.
What can you do to reduce the impact? Send an ecard, buy a card made from recycled paper, or buy a ‘tree-free’ card - cards are now available made from (among other things) banana skins, reclaimed sugar cane or elephant poo, although that last one may not be the best idea for Valentine’s Day.
2. Flowers. According to the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, around 70% of flowers are imported into the US, many of which are sprayed with harmful pesticides and fungicides which are banned here. Even flowers grown in the US can be harmful to the environment as flowers are one of the most pesticide intensive crops.
The easy fix? Buy locally grown organic flowers. You will reduce the carbon footprint from the transportation of the flowers and avoid toxins potentially harming the watershed and streams.
3. Chocolate. According to Global Exchange, 284,000 children are employed abusive labor conditions in West Africa’s cocoa fields. Many cocoa companies pay so low that many farmers cannot meet their basic needs.
Guilt free chocolate? Organic fair trade chocolate. Organic to reduce the impact on the environment. Fair trade to make sure that forced and abusive child labor are prohibited, farmers get an adequate price and environmentally sustainable production methods are used in the making of chocolate for your loved one. Not calorie free but definitely guilt free.
4. Jewelry. There are several environmental and humane issues connected with jewelry. Mining destroys habitats and uses harmful toxins. According to No Dirty Gold the production of one gold ring generates 20 tons of mining waste.
Is there such a thing as eco-bling? If jewelry is on your shopping list, consider antique, pre-owned jewelry or purchasing from jewelers who are certified to be sourcing precious metals and gemstones in an ecologically and socially responsible manner.
5. Dinner. Arrange dinner at a local restaurant specializing in organic or locally grown food and wine. The Green Restaurant Association has a search function on their website that allows you to search for Certified Green Restaurants in your neighborhood.
6. Candlelight. Conventional candles are made from paraffin, a petroleum product, and can pollute indoor environments. Use beeswax or soy-wax candles that burn much cleaner.
7. And then? One of the most innovative areas of green entrepreneurialship is eco-sex toys. An online search for green sex toys has over 5 Million results. Have fun finding the perfect one for you and your partner.