Valentine’s Day is big business. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day in the United States spent nearly 142 dollars in 2015. Besides the U.S., Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark and Italy. With this huge global celebration comes the potential to have a very large impact on the environment, here are some eye-opening statistics from the Greeting Card Corporation.
- Around a billion valentines are sent each year globally, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. That is a lot of paper being used for a lot of valentines.
- Over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold each year and a lot of these chocolate are packaged in chipboard that ends up in a landfill.
- Valentine’s Day is the also the top holiday for buying fresh flowers with red roses being most popular. According to Inhabitat.com, 100 million roses grown for Valentine’s Day produce 9,000 metric tons of CO2 among other damaging impacts to the environment. To read more, visit http://inhabitat.com/100-million-roses-for-valentines-day-emit-9000-metric-tons-of-co2/.
Here are some ways you can give your sweeties a wonderful Valentine’s Day while making sure the planet feels the love as well:
- Give an experience. For example, a trip to an art museum, a concert or a local venue you know your true love would enjoy.
- Make a lovely, local and organic dinner at home for two. It’s less expensive than eating out at a fancy restaurant and a lot easier to get a reservation. You could even get creative and plan a themed dinner and a movie.
- Make your own Valentine’s Day cards out of recycled materials or support a local artist who uses recycled materials to make their creations.
- Make a one-of-a-kind gift certificate. Any busy person would appreciate a handmade certificate (on recycled paper) for a homemade dinner, doing laundry for a week (hint, hint) or any other task you know they would love to have done by someone else.
- Instead of purchasing a plastic gift card, go for the electronic (and paperless) option, an eGift card. Check out the huge selection of participating retailers at http://www.giftzip.com/giftcards. Each year, 75 million pounds of PVC is dumped into landfills from plastic gift card waste (Plenty Magazine). That’s an unbelievable amount of waste for something that can easily and conveniently be sent virtually.
For your little sweeties and their classmates:
- Create a unique recycled content card for them to give out. There are so many adorable free printable readily available on the internet (Pinterest is always loaded with amazing ideas) . Get some recycled content paper and create something cute and eco-friendly for your children’s friends and classmates.
- Another fun idea for Valentine’s Day is to make recycled crayon hearts for everyone. Click over to MyGreenSide.org to get all the directions.
The bottom line is that you know your loved one better than anyone so let your creativity shine, consider your impact on the planet and really make the day special.