Think Green on Valentine’s Day

February 9, 2010, 11:33 am

This Valentine’s Day, get your sweetheart a gift that is not only thoughtful but also makes less of an impact on our environment. Below we’ve outlined ways to make this traditionally “red” holiday a bit greener, starting with some of the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts.

Chocolates
What’s Valentine’s Day without chocolates? This year, instead of reaching for the heart-shaped box at your local grocery story, try one of these eco-friendly chocolate companies.

Theo Chocolates, based in Seattle, is the first and only, organic, Fair Trade certified bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the U.S. The small, independently owned company, not only produces decadent chocolates, but is also does its part to educate others about the benefits of fair trade and organic agriculture in the chocolate industry. Theo Chocolates are available online at TheoChocolate.com, Whole Foods Markets and other specialty stores nationwide.

Other earth-friendly options include Sweet Earth Chocolates, who also use fair trade and organic ingredients, Endangered Species Chocolates, who donate 10% of all net profits to help support species, habitat and humanity, and CocaVino, who use organic, regional and sustainable ingredients in their wind-powered chocolate kitchen.


Flowers
This year, forego the dozen roses for a greener alternative. Instead of ordering flowers online, take the old-fashioned route: swing by your local florist and ask them to make up a local, seasonal bouquet.

If you must order online, look for a site that with eco-friendly practices. We like OrganicBoquet.com, which features organically grown flowers, funds community programs across the globe, and uses sustainable, biodegradable packaging.

Another option is Flowerbud.com, which works directly with flower grows to deliver the freshest flowers possible, most of which are grown domestically.

No matter where you buy your flowers, look for the VeriFlora logo, which ensures that your flowers were grown in and environmentally and socially responsible manner and with high quality standards.  To earn the VeriFlora seal of approval, growers must have sustainable policies, including energy conservation, ecosystem protection and fair labor practices.

Dinner
Save money and go green by making dinner at home instead of going out to eat on Valentine’s Day. Use local, seasonal ingredients to prepare your meal.

Not sure what’s in season? Find a list of regional seasonal fruits and vegetables at fieldtoplate.com. Buy locally-grown foods at your grocery store or farmers’ markets. Find a farmers’ market near you at localharvest.org.

Lastly, enjoy your home-cooked meal with a glass of locally-produced wine.  A state-by-state directory of wineries is available here.

If cooking isn’t your bailiwick and you opt to dine out, choose a restaurant that serves locally-grown, seasonal cuisine. Or, invite a few couples to your house and chip in to hire a local chef to prepare a meal to remember. The costs compare to eating out and you can design the menu so you can eat exactly what you want.

Cards
Nearly 180 million Valentine’s Day cards exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion. Do your part by giving cards that are made out of recycled products, or by sending an e-card.

Check out care2.com, which will make a donation to the Nature Conservancy to protect one square foot of rainforest for each free e-card you send.