earth-friendly valentines

Valentine's Day is a mere nine days away. There's so much pressure to make the holiday special for your significant other, but the most important thing is to celebrate in your own style. I've always been a fan of low-key Valentine's Days, because it's just more personal. But however you choose to celebrate, you can make it more sustainable and earth-friendly. And if you're currently single, the Earth can be your Valentine! Pick up some litter you see during the day and recycle it, or take extra effort to not use anything disposable, like plates or coffee cups.

If you're looking for a sweet gift, look to sustainable companies and products, or go local and choose something unique. Get creative or Pinteresty and upcycle some household materials into a unique handmade gift, such as decorative wine bottle vases. Or make something intangible such as a mix tape with special songs that describe your relationship or your feelings for your loved one. (Okay, fine, Spotify playlist or iTunes mix…but mix tape just sounds so much better! And is also the name of one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands, Jack's Mannequin, so there's that.)

Go for organic and fair trade dark chocolate over the 99 cent mystery mix. Organic chocolate is free of pesticides, which means it was produced without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. How romantic!! Fair-trade chocolate ensures that the field workers and producers earn a fair wage for their work. The Fair Trade Federation judges whether products are fair trade or not. And this chocolate not hard to find - many specialty grocery stores and World Market carry fair-trade chocolate.

Take your special person out to dinner at a local restaurant that uses fresh, local ingredients. Or better yet, create your own dinner with farmer's market produce and meats or seafood. A quiet dinner also means your car can stay parked in the driveway.

Choose a wine from a sustainable vineyard, like my favorite Fetzer wines, or choose a wine that comes in an Eco-Glass bottle. Eco-Glass bottles are made with 25% less glass than standard bottles, which has numerous benefits: There is less glass used to hold the wine in general, and the lighter bottles create lighter shipments, saving the transport and delivery trucks on fuel. But they are still strong enough to handle the job of holding wine!

If you're going the flower route, choose a local florist, or pick your own flowers if possible. Which, it may not be possible during this ridiculously brutal winter. I mean, when it snows/sleets more than once in south Louisiana, I can about imagine there aren't too many flowers in any yards right now. And don't give your loved one dead plants, please. I'm not responsible for any fallout from that, just sayin'.

So, however you spend your Valentine's Day, make it greener! Rule of thumb? No disposable anything, no waste, and choose local!

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