Uh oh. It’s that time of the year again: Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day, it’s conventional — or, okay, at least nice — to gift your Valentine with something significant, whether it be flowers or chocolate or a really heartfelt card.
According to a survey conducted by Bankrate, a New York-based financial data provider, 7 out of 10 adults in relationships plan to shell out for a gift this Valentine’s Day. This makes the average spending $152 per person. Unfortunately, traditional Valentine’s Day gifts are anything but sustainable. Just take a look at the elaborate packaging on your box of Belgian chocolate and the out-of-season roses, dewey from freezer-equipped trucks. And don’t even bring up the balloons.
So for this year, try some of these greener options that are equally as romantic:
1. Eco-Friendly Jewelry
Jewelry has always been a dependable, classic gift choice for Valentine’s Day. But has anyone ever thought that sustainable jewelry just sparkles more, for some reason? If so, then brands such as ABLE, Mejuri, Aurate, and Ten Thousand Villages are for you. Dedicated to sustainability tenets like thoughtful sourcing and fair wages, these brands make jewelry that pairs sustainability with style.
Although sustainable jewelry is on balance a little pricier than other brands, the ‘hidden costs’ of buying mainstream jewelry make sustainable brands incredibly worth it. Supply chains are complicated and overconsumption is rife. Many may have even heard of blood diamonds from the 2006 thriller starring Leo DiCaprio — diamonds fueling bloody conflicts and making profits for warlords and the diamond industry.
These eco-friendly brands are pioneering methods that oppose these atrocities. For example, the jewelry from Ten Thousand Villages is hand-made by independent, small-scale artisan organizations, co-opts, or workshops from over 30 developing countries. Additionally, many have a distinct cultural flair from the country they were made in. So take your pick!
2. Fair Trade and Organic Chocolate
Chocolates are a girl’s best friend, right? Wait… that’s not how that saying goes. But regardless, if you’re looking for a Fair Trade-certified brand of tasty chocolates with environmentally friendly packaging, Divine Chocolates is here to help. With 26 equally delectable flavors, their Endangered Species Chocolate Bars are definitely notable winners.
In addition to delicious flavors such as “oat milk, coconut & almonds + dark chocolate” or “hazelnut toffee + dark chocolate,” 10% of all sales from the Endangered Species line goes towards saving American endangered species. Since 2016, over $2.6 million in profits have been donated to Divine’s conservation partners.
Through their donations to foundations such as GiveBack Partners, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and The National Forest Foundation, Divine has aided in the restoration of 67,312 acres of wildlife habitat. And if Divine isn’t for you, some other sustainable chocolates we recommend are those from Bar & Cocoa, Equal Exchange, and Taza Chocolate.
3. Handmade Crafts
If you’ve got any friends who are minimalists, you’ll know that sometimes, simpler is better. Gifts are all about the heart you put into them. So a knit beanie, a handmade letter, or some home-baked goods are all the more romantic. Especially if you frost some heart motifs onto your barely-risen cupcakes.
Need any guides on what to make? Look here to see how you can present your partner with some top-tier Pinterest-worthy DIY bird feeders and home-made air fresheners. Good luck crafting!
4. Socks that Protect Rainforests
If you’re on the hunt for something more lowkey, be sure to look into one of our favorites — Socks that Protect Rainforests from Conscious Step. This pair is one of many socks for a cause from Conscious Step, among others like “socks that promote breast cancer prevention” and “socks that save LGBTQ lives.” Aside from being environmentally conscious, these socks have been specifically designed to be incredibly soft.
Embroidered with the logo of their partner organization, Conservation International, these socks are Fair Trade, GOTS, and vegan-certified. Sustainably sourced and made in ethical workplaces, 1 pair of socks equals 10 protected trees in rainforests. According to the website, there have been over 400,000 trees saved for the rainforest so far and counting!
And if you’re hesitating, just think about the effect that saving the rainforests could have on biodiversity and water potability, and quality of life for indigenous people near the region who are linked to it culturally and subsist on its resources. Additionally, by absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen, rainforests are also one of our last strongholds against the calamitous rise of global warming.
The most important part of getting eco-friendly gifts for your valentine is that they’re purchased with love, both for your partner and the planet. Plus, it’s one small step to aligning your daily actions with your environmental values. And while sharing your own values and gifts with your loved ones, bear in mind that the best Valentine’s Day gift is the gift of love!