Valentine’s Day is one of many high consumer holiday’s in the United States and aboard. This Valentine’s Day, challenge yourself to be a conscious consumer and think of the environmental and economic impacts of your purchasing decisions. You may think: “What does Valentine’s Day have to do with the environment?” Keep reading!
An estimated 196 million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day. $1.9 billion is spent annually on flowers for Valentine’s Day.
Alternative: Instead of purchasing a dozen red roses or a nice bouquet of flowers consider buying a potted flowering plant. A bouquet of flowers have a short lifespan and will be discarded in the trash within days. A potted flowering plant has a much longer lifespan given you water it and expose it to sunlight. If you must buy cut roses or other flowers, at least compost the decaying plant material.
An estimated 145 million cards are purchased annually for Valentine’s Day.
Alternative: Send an e-mail! We are in the digital age! While a card is associated with having ‘sentimental value,’ they too often get thrown out, though in some cases they are kept as keepsakes. An e-card reduces paper waste, [chemical contamination from ink?]. Test out your design skills and create your own card, the sentimental value will withstand.
An estimated $1.6 billion is spent on candy annually on Valentine’s Day.
Alternative: Cocoa supply is lower than usual due to various circumstances in West Africa. Not buying chocolate may be hard to avoid. Why not splurge and buy fair trade, sustainably produced chocolates.
Alternative: A fancy restaurant dinner is another ‘standard’ for V-Day that is hard to avoid. If you must opt for a restaurant meal, consider a restaurant that sources their ingredients from local suppliers. If you are preparing a meal at home, try to purchase local beef and poultry, or sustainable produced or wild caught fish and shellfish. Considering by local or organic produce, though local is difficult for most of the US given the season.
An estimated 4.4 billion is spent annually on jewelry for Valentine’s Day.
Alternative: A jewelry purchase is also difficult to avoid, however, make sure the gemstones and precious metals you are purchasing are ethically produced and conflict-free.