Green Tips: A Sustainable Valentine’s Day

Green Tips | February 1, 2019

With Valentine’s Day approaching, you may be thinking of ideas for showing your sweetheart how much they mean to you. This year,  51% of Americans are expected to celebrate Valentine’s Day and spend a record-breaking $20.7 billion on everything from heart-shaped boxes of chocolates to jewelry, dinner dates, and other gifts.

What’s not to love is the environmental impact of Valentine’s Day gifts. Many products sold for Valentine’s Day are not manufactured sustainably and are usually single-use. Lots of gifts and cards will eventually end up in a landfill, and the manufacturing of Valentine’s Day products is responsible for more emissions than driving around the Earth 4,000 times!

Why not also show the planet some love this year? Check out our tips for a greener Valentine’s Day.


Support your local farmers and choose a restaurant that serves farm-to-table meals. Eating locally will help decrease the fossil fuels used to transport foods and keep them fresh. Look for organic and vegetarian options, which will help reduce pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t have access to an eco-friendly restaurant? Stay in and cook a homemade meal using locally grown and organic ingredients.


Valentine’s Day is one the top card-giving days of the year. Unfortunately, paper manufacturing is not a friend to the environment. Up to 160,000 trees are cut down each day and the paper industry is responsible for 20% of air pollution in the U.S. This year, hone your creative skills and create your own card made from recycled paper. Your partner will appreciate the extra effort of a personalized card. If you’re not crafty, try buying a card made from recycled paper or sending an e-card.


While roses are a Valentine’s Day staple, just one bouquet requires 600 kWh of energy to grow in the U.S. and even more if they’re imported. For example, 30 cargo jets transport over 30 million roses from Colombia to Miami each day for the three weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. A more sustainable option is to visit your local farmer’s market and buy a bouquet of in-season flowers. A longer lasting option is a potted plant, which allows you to choose herbs to grow together and cook with in the future. Find a farmer’s market near you by clicking here.


Avoid conventional chocolates that may be produced unethically and come with wasteful packaging. Opt for fair trade and organic chocolate. Fair-trade certified chocolate reduces deforestation practices that are often associated with cocoa production and instead protects wildlife habitats and rainforests.


In order to reduce waste, try giving a loved one the gift of experiences rather than things.  Some ideas include a painting or dance class, concert tickets, or a trip to the spa. Try making a gift using household materials such as this up-cycled wreath or homemade candle.

Looking to give jewelry? Give conflict free diamonds, vintage jewelry, or jewelry made from recycled materials. Don’t forget to cut down on paper and wrap your gifts with recycled or reusable materials. Read more about sustainable gift giving here.

If you decide to buy a gift online, shop using our Amazon Smile portal here. It’s no extra cost for the shopper and Amazon will donate a portion to NYLCVEF.

Date Night Activities

Select eco-friendly winter activities. Try skating, skiing, or hiking in the fresh air! Too cold? Visit your local plant nursery or museum to learn new things together.

Show your loved one you care by caring for the environment! Happy Valentine’s Day!

< Back to Citizen’s Toolkit

Get Involved