Valentine’s Day can mean bouquets of cut flowers, chocolate wrapped in cellophane and a cardboard box, a trail of paper cards, gifts jazzed up with polyester bows and maybe even a bottle of wine with a plastic stopper. However, that’s all been done a million times before, and in the age of climate change, it’s time to start thinking outside the box and give your Valentine an intimate, eco-friendly day. This year, start some new traditions with this eco-friendly Valentine’s gift guide. Not all of these Valentine’s gift ideas might be considered traditional, but they are creative, fun and romantic. These are great ways to let your Valentine — and the planet — know that you love them.
Fresh and local flowers
Cut flowers are often grown in production greenhouses, covered in chemicals and imported from thousands of miles away via cargo planes and gas-guzzling refrigerated trucks. Then, after a few days, they make their way to the trash and eventually end up in a landfill, where they will emit methane as they decay.
If your Valentine loves flowers, there are alternatives to conventional cut flowers that are much more environmentally friendly. Websites like bouqs.com sell flower bouquets that are cut to order on eco-friendly farms and designed by local florists.
You can also find local growers who are selling in-season flowers at localharvest.org. Another unique option is to buy seeds and a beautiful pot (you can get great ideas at rareseeds.com), plant them together as a couple and watch them grow (like your love!).
You could also visit your local botanical garden together and take a romantic stroll.
Mass-produced chocolate from global companies is often made from cacao that is bought “blind” from importers and brokers that could be using forced child labor. Some cacao farming is also putting wildlife at risk.
But fair-trade chocolate comes from small-scale farm co-ops, where farmers own their own land and invest in their communities. The chocolate is traceable, cuts out the middleman and focuses on quality.
You can find fair-trade chocolate at sites like Askinosie, Nuubia and Dagoba.
You can find beautiful, conflict-free diamonds and recycled precious metals (wrapped in green packaging) at Brilliant Earth. You can also opt for eco-friendly artistic pieces from around the world at sites like Novica and Ten Thousand Villages.
Related: 9 ways to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day
Packed With Purpose
This site wants your gifts to have an impact, and it does this by selling high-quality products from “Purposeful Purveyors” — companies that make their employees, communities and the environment top priorities. You can find gift boxes filled with chocolate and nuts, tea, crackers and biscotti or soy candles and artisanal soaps.
Natural perfumes or colognes
Natural, sustainable perfumes and colognes make perfect Valentine’s gifts. There are plenty of places you can go to find the right scent for your loved one. Sana Jardin is a socially-conscious company that offers luxury fragrances while focusing on sustainability.
Clean Reserve manufactures its field-to-fragrance products in a solar-powered factory, and Floral Street uses biodegradable paper packaging that can be repurposed as a seed tray.
Cozy organic robes
You can’t go wrong with eco-friendly clothing. Of course, clothes might not be the most important part of Valentine’s Day (wink, wink), but a cozy, organic robe could be a great gift. Sorella Organics sells robes, loungewear and sleepwear made from certified organic and fair-trade cotton. Not only will your skin love these products, but so will the environment.
For something sexy underneath, you can visit Hanky Panky and find intimate apparel made from organic cotton that is also free of toxic chemicals. The company uses high-quality fabrics to avoid synthetic fiber pollution. It doesn’t use fur, feathers or leather because animal welfare is a priority, and it recycles and repurposes its textile waste.
Your organic robe will feel even better after enjoying a romantic bath or shower using luxurious eco-friendly soaps and candles. Heart & Arrow uses a sustainable process to make soaps and candles, plus it uses minimal packaging and makes charitable giving a top priority.
You can also turn your bathroom into a spa with sustainable bamboo bath caddies from sites like Royal Craft Wood and sustainable skincare from Lather or milk + honey. Royal Craft Wood specializes in affordable, sustainable, high-quality products made by skilled artists. Lather is a wellness brand that sells natural products that are never tested on animals, and milk + honey uses clean, plant-based ingredients.
Romantic, eco-friendly activities
Going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day can often mean fighting for a reservation at an over-crowded restaurant. That’s not the most romantic way to spend your time, not to mention the food waste. Instead, consider eco-friendly romantic activities like taking a cooking class for two, visiting a local art gallery, adopting a pet at a local animal shelter, enjoying a picnic in the park, scheduling a wine tasting at a local winery, hiring a personal chef for the evening, cooking a special dinner together or relaxing with a couple’s massage.
Images via Annie Spratt, Conger Design, Luisella Planeta Leoni, Packed With Purpose, Silvia Rita, StockSnap, Holger Link, James Riess and RawPixel