Valentine’s Day produces a lot of “stuff” that winds up in the trash eventually in the form of cards, stuffed animals and candy boxes. In the spirit of greener living, here are some ideas to make the sweets-for-your-sweetie meaningful and easier on the environment.
Pour It On Thick With Maple Sugar
Satisfy your sweet tooth with delicious, nutritious maple syrup. Real maple syrup is more expensive than corn or sugarcane sweeteners, but a little goes a long way. New England-produced maple syrup is available at local supermarkets, for a regionally-produced, sustainably grown, delicious sweetness.
Make It the Thought That Counts, Not the Card
You can say it better than Hallmark. Tramp out a heart shape in the snow. Hide a list of the top 10 reasons you love someone in a pocket. Bake their favorite cookies. Let them drive the remote. Do their most-hated chore. Call them just because. Save the cards you receive to recycle next year.
Dress Up (or Down) and Dine Local
Pub-style or white-napkin, you know best what your sweetie craves. A close-to-home night out saves gas and supports local business.
Say It With Flowers — Greener Ones
If fresh flowers are a must, make them as “green” as you can by choosing ones that are grown with care for the people who grow them and the environment.
Commercially grown cut flowers that come from South America often are produced using pesticides and labor practices that put floral workers and their families are at high risk of chemical exposure and harm. If you want to learn more, read this February 2011 “Smithsonian” magazine article on the Colombia flower industry.
Eco-conscious grocers like Whole Foods Market sell cut flowers under their Whole Trade label that pledges better wages, working conditions and environmental practices.
Make Their Heart Beat Faster
Get moving for a heart-healthy Valentine’s Day. Stroll hand-in-hand or drive to the snow and hit the slopes.
Chocolate — Buy Better, Not Bigger
Bypass the generic big red heart-shaped box and spend a little more for an earth- and worker-friendly choice of organic, fair-trade or locally-made sweets.