My Eco Valentine: sustainable gift guide
So what do women (and men) want? Every year as Valentine’s Day approaches, millions ponder this question. Some take pondering out of the equation and opt for the traditional red roses/chocolates/card approach. Others get creative with romantic getaways, and celeborate candlelit dinners. Still others choose Valentine’s Day to propose (according to Diamond Information Center, 10% of the roughly 2.3 million US couples getting engaged annually do so on Valentine’s Day). And, of course, there are those who ignore it completely.
Our guide is for all of you who honor Valentine’s Day gift-giving traditions in some way. In line with our passions, we’ve given Valentine’s staples an eco-friendly spin, and included additional somewhat out-of-the box environmentally friendly/sustainable/organic suggestions. Please note that our selections are not endorsements or reviews, and that we are not compensated for our listing.
Sustainable, fair trade coco bean farming, using locally produced ingredients, streamlined production methods that reduce the use of machinery and water, recycled and recyclable packaging – these are just some of the practices that make chocolates eco-friendly.
Sweet Earth Chocolates
Fair trade and organic, vegetarian and vegan selections available. (Their ‘Love at First Bite‘ pictured left)
First organic and fair trade chocolate manufacturing company in the US, uses green energy sources to power their factory, uses sustainable packaging.
Fat Turkey Chocolate Company
Delectable selections, locally sourced and organic ingredients.
Eco-friendly growers are certified sustainable by VeriFlora, an agricultural sustainability certification and eco-labeling program for fresh cut flowers and potted plants. VeriFlora’s website has a handy search page to find a certified grower in your area.
One notable point: when it comes to flowers, eco-friendly may not mean organic. If you are looking for both, it’s best to contact the grower or retailer directly.
An example of a grower who meets both requirements is Organic Bouquet In addition to being both eco-friendly and organic, they also contribute to environmental and humane charities through their Flowers for Good and Corporations for Good programs, and use recycled and recyclable packaging materials and vases. (Love at First Sight from Organic Bouquet pictured above right).
Planting a tree can also be a very special gift. Many parks, like Prospect Park in Brooklyn, offer a tree dedication. Tree People plants trees in Southern California. The Trees Remembered supports reforestation in Shasta-Trinity National Forest (California), Seminole State Forest (Florida).
Those with crafty talents and/or time should definitely give homemade cards a shot: it could be a fun and satisfying project. The good news for the rest of us is that there are numerous lovely choices printed on recycled and recyclable paper. A few options are below and more available online and at many local retailers.
Multiple categories, from romantic to humorous. Personalization available. (pictured above left)
Plain Paper & Fabric Company
Handmade cards. Lovely. Pricey, but lovely…
Green Field Paper Company
The home of printable seed paper.
SPAS & OTHER PAMPERING
The beauty of these (for the giver) is that gift certificates can be purchased up to the last minute, and (for the recipient) that they can be used at the recipient’s discretion.
Buttermilk Spa, Milton, NY
Selfishly selected because of its Hudson Valley, NY location, hence being within a reasonable shooting distance for me to escape for a day (and, I’m partial to the name.) It also gets high marks from both media and customers, looks very serene, and has a lovely inn for overnight stays (so conceivably you could make it a couple’s weekend). And they have a Champagne Rose Massage + Chocolate Sugar
Hand or Foot Scrub Valentine’s special (75 minutes, $135) for the month of February.
Nova Nail Spa, San Francisco, CA
Everything in this San Fransisco spa, from the interior building materials and finishes, to lighting, to, of course, treatments themselves, is renewable, recycled and energy efficient. I’m almost tempted to make a trip to the West Coast just to check them out.
El Monte Sagrado, Taos, NM
A true destination spa, this eco-friendly beauty has a self-sustaining eco system, as well as an award-winning restaurant and an art gallery (plus all the pampering bells and whistles). A fabulous combination of luxury and environmental responsibility. (pictured above)
Many more choices abound. Both National Association of Eco Friendly Salons & Spas and The Green Spa Guide from the Spa Index are excellent sources for doing research by location, type and budget.