Green Corner: Have a green Valentine’s Day

Flowers, cards and chocolate are some of the many things that come to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day. Millions of boxes of chocolate, cards and flowers are sold each year on the romantic holiday. It seems like everyone has the same yearly routine, so wouldn’t you want to make your Valentine’s Day different for your loved ones? This year you can make more than just an impression on your crush and also make an impact on the environment. Instead of sticking to the same routine as the rest of the world, you can plan out a unique and sustainable Valentine’s Day.  Green is the new red.

There are plenty of ways to make your Valentine’s Day green, from the gifts you give, to the places you plan your date. According to statisticbrain.com, 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged every year. That’s a lot of paper. An easy alternative to buying one is sending an e-card. Americangreetings.com as well as the Sierra Club provide a wide selection of e-cards for Valentine’s Day, and some even have fun animation. If an online card doesn’t feel personal enough, you can get a little crafty and use some recycled material to make a one-of-a-kind card. Websites like Pinterest are full of easy, unique designs — you can even add a poem to make it extra special.

Along with cards, almost 200 million roses alone are sold annually for Valentine’s Day. According to The Huffington Post, 78% of these flowers are imported from places like South America. Here they can be grown with a mix of fungicides, insecticides and herbicides, most of which are banned in the U.S. and in Europe. Are these the flowers you want to be giving to your sweetheart? If not, there are some alternatives. Look for flowers that are certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Rainforest Alliance. You can also give locally-grown plants or heirloom seeds to plant — or better yet, plant a tree to signify your growing love.
A classic V-Day dinner plan is usually candle-lit. Make it extra-green by making an organic meal and lighting some organic candles. Instead of stressing over making a reservation, stay in and make a meal together. But if you are itching to get out, Princeton has a ton of organic restaurants and cafés like Eno Terra, The Organic Grill and Infini-T. After, you can take a lovely walk around Princeton together and enjoy the rest of the night.
Valentine’s Day should not just be about flowers or cards. What it is really about is spending time with your friends and loved ones to tell them how much you care. It is as easy as putting down your cell phone, turning off the TV or skipping the movie. Spend time talking and laughing together. Putting some extra thought into the gifts you give and making them personal makes it easy to be greener. Your secret admirer would appreciate receiving something one of a kind rather than getting the same cookie-cutter card as everyone else. Enjoy Valentine’s Day and feel the love in the air.

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