ten top tips to help you have a low-carbon and guilt-free Valentine’s Day
Forget flowers, mass-produced cards and chocolates this Valentine’s Day. Plan to be more eco-friendly this year and give gifts that are long lasting, useful and memorable.
The exact origins of St. Valentine are often disputed, with many variations of his story and traditions. For instance, in Denmark people swap poems and give candy snowdrops. In Japan, women are expected to give chocolate and other gifts to men on Valentine's Day.
In the UK and other Western countries, Valentine’s Day has become the traditional day when people express their love for each other by giving gifts and cards, but often without thinking about the impact on the planet.
Nigel Berman, founder of www.nigelsecostore.com has come up with ten top tips to help you have a low-carbon and guilt-free Valentine’s Day.
1) An estimated one billion Valentine’s cards are sent each year, making it the biggest card-sending occasion after Christmas. The UK greeting card industry is worth nearly £1.47 billion annually, according to figures from the Greeting Card Association.1 The Greeting Card Association’s latest report puts the average number of greeting cards sent in the UK at 31 per person a year. Multiply that by the population of the UK2 and imagine all the waste!
Try to send recycled cards, or get creative and make your own (that would surely earn brownie points from your partner on the effort front) by carving a message of love on a wooden card. Wooden cards are real ‘keep-sakes’ and much more romantic than buying a card from a shop.
2) Cut flowers have often travelled thousands of miles and some have been sprayed with pesticides. By the time you give them to your loved one, you are lucky if they last a week. So try to choose locally grown flowers or, better still, your loved can get pleasure from growing their own with this Love in a Grobox. Alternatively, why not give someone a Love tree? A real tree is a lasting token of your affection and this one has beautiful, white blossom. It is native to the UK, encourages and provides for wildlife and contributes to offsetting your carbon footprint. If a Love tree isn’t for you, you could give a zesty lemon tree or an orange tree.
3) Chocolate is another eco no-no. West Africa is the centre of cocoa production and is often under scrutiny for fair trade issues. There is also all the non-recyclable packaging to consider and emissions from production and transportation. It is estimated that in Britain we eat, on average, 10.2kg per person a year!3 If you have to buy chocolate consider fair trade alternatives, or products made closer to home.
4) Think of something original to do on Valentine’s Day, rather than just going for a meal. Have you got a ‘special place’ as a couple? Perhaps somewhere you have been on a first date or picnic together? How about giving your loved one a Seedbom that you can use to symbolise your love? You throw the Seedbom in your special place with enough force to shatter it and disperse the wild seeds inside. You can go back together when the seeds start to grow to admire your handiwork. Or you might like this gorgeous Love in a Bag which contains fieldpoppy and corncockle seeds.
5) Try to give an original and meaningful gift. Traditionally in Saxon England a boy would give his Valentine a pair of gloves. In Wales, it is customary to give the object of your affections a wooden spoon decorated with keyholes meaning ‘you unlock my heart’. How about sending your Valentine some of our oak juniper spatulas? OK, so these are spatulas not spoons, but the sentiment is there.
6) Do something romantic like running a bath for your other half. Use the ylang ylang bubble melt in our organic box of love then treat them to a relaxing massage using the oil. Or this sexy Ooo Herbal Bath Gift Box could get them in the mood for romance. Alternatively, our bath melts come shaped as cup cakes and hearts - a perfect gift to demonstrate your love.
7) Do something thoughtful. Find a cherished photo of yourselves and frame it as a lasting gift that costs about the same as a nice bunch of flowers but won’t wilt and die. We have a gorgeous and fair trade metal photo frame. If metal is not your thing, we also have a wooden fair trade vintage style frame that has been handcrafted in India with wood sourced from sustainable forests. Or you could consider a divine eco print with the letters LOVE. Made from 100% recycled card, it would look great in any boudoir or bedroom.
8) Perhaps you just want to get away for a few days? Get some inspiration from this book, Organic Places to Stay by Linda Moss, it contains 520 suggestions of organic getaways within the UK. You can make sure you and your partner don’t miss your favourite radio programmes by giving them a wind up hearts radio. It can also be used for charging up mobile phones.
9) You could add to the mood by decorating your home or dining table with these felt hearts. These decorations are made from 100% merino wool and eco-friendly dyes. They’re also the perfect accessory for your Valentine’s Day gift. You could even dress your windows or mantelpiece with this sweet design.
10) Of course, you could always stay home, turn out the lights, turn down the heating, light some candles, open a bottle of organic eco wine and keep each other warm!
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Notes for Editors
Winner of Yahoo Finds of The Year - Best Shopping Site & Highly Commended at The Real Homes Eco Awards, Nigel's Eco Store is an award-winning online retailer of environmentally friendly products that can help everyone reduce their carbon footprint, conserve resources and save money. The store carries home furnishings, kitchenware, gadgets, office products, kids' toys and energy saving devices.