By Christa Adams
The Earth deserves to be shown love all year-round — so why not especially on Valentine’s Day? With romance in the air, local stores are predictably overflowing with generic plushies, “love”-scrawled disposable balloons, and heart-shaped chocolate boxes. But if you want to celebrate love — and that special someone — a little differently this year, blow a kiss goodbye to those cheaply made mass-market goodies, and say yes to a sustainable Valentine’s Day. So, how do you step up your love game while still showing hearts for the environment? Here are our top picks for eco-friendly gifts to embrace this Valentine’s Day.
Jewelry is a timeless Valentine’s Day gift, and it’s one that can easily be made sustainably. So, if you want to give your loved one a shiny new necklace or earrings with an eco-friendly twist, here’s what we recommend. Find a silversmith, goldsmith, or jewelry designer in your area — or online — who specializes in sustainable and ethical jewelry. These brands will have transparent and responsible sourcing practices both in the jewelry supply chain and with the sustainable materials they use. This means minimal impact on the environment as well as fair wages and safe working conditions for employees. Check out this article for some of the best ethical jewelry brands or head to Etsy to find a local designer.
Soaps and other spa day goodies are popular Valentine’s Day gift ideas. Luckily, they’re another easy one to be done sustainably. More likely than not, there is a handmade soap maker in your area that focuses on organic and eco-friendly packaging. Organic soaps will have no harmful ingredients, and will instead use natural oils and fragrances. This is a wonderful gift for your sweetheart who is all about smelling great without harming their skin or the environment in the process. Head to farmer’s markets or local shops to search around. Otherwise, check out online options like Sweet Harvest Farms and Whispering Willow Soap, or choose an organic soap gift set like these on Etsy.
While flower bouquets may be a classic choice for Valentine’s Day, this isn’t the most sustainable choice. More than 80% of flowers sold in the US are imported from outside the country, contributing to increased carbon emissions from travel and refrigeration. Additionally, these flowers are sprayed with synthetic pesticides that are known carcinogens. Pass up a dozen red roses this Valentine’s Day and instead opt for fresh and sustainably grown potted plants. Head to your local plant or gardening store and remember to ask about pesticides before you purchase. If you’re set on fresh-cut flowers, find an ethical florist who can do the job sustainably!
Store-bought boxes of assorted chocolate have nothing on fair-trade chocolate. The taste is richer, and the quality is immensely better, which is why they are a wonderful choice for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gift. Look for chocolate ingredients that are sustainably sourced and certified Fair Trade, meaning the chocolate is made with cacao beans from farmers who are paid a fair wage, instead of the under-valued price set by the market.
Does your loved one enjoy the simplicity of a picnic? Gift them an eco-friendly picnic basket set and use as part of your Valentine’s Day date. This is a wonderful present that seamlessly incorporates a gift with a special experience that goes with it. Choose a woven picnic basket, preferably one that comes with a set of plastic-free plates, cups, and cutlery for the complete package. Order from their favorite restaurant or whip up something homemade and enjoy a picnic in the park (or your own backyard!)
Sustainable spa package
Whether it’s part of a couple’s Valentine’s Day experience or simply a present for your loved one to use later, a package to a sustainable spa is a wonderful gift idea. Sustainable spas are all about using responsible, natural materials free of harmful chemicals. They create experiences that promote health and well-being while consistently implementing new environmentally-friendly strategies. Whether you want to gift them a full-day treatment or just a facial or massage, your special person will love a sustainable spa visit (on or after the holiday).
Gift an experience
Valentine’s Day gifts don’t have to be physical items — they can be experiences, too. Write a love letter or poem, plan a sweet date, gift concert tickets, or take them to make pottery or a painting. Choose something you know your partner will enjoy, and they’ll be pleasantly surprised this Valentine’s Day.
Support local artists who use recycled or sustainable materials in their work this Valentine’s Day! Ceramics, paintings, sculptures, or handmade crafts are wonderful eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts! Visit an eco-shop, art gallery, or boutique in your area to find local artwork.
Not-so-fun fact, but most market perfumes are packed full of harmful chemicals and artificial fragrances that cause rashes, irritation, health risks — and damage to the environment. Instead, gift your partner a beautiful new scent the sustainable way. Sustainable perfumes are eco-friendly and cruelty-free, and instead of harsh chemicals, these perfumes use blends of essential oils and essences. A fantastic choice this Valentine’s Day!