14 Ways to Go Green This Valentine's Day

A list of ways to share the love with everyone you adore without hating on the environment.

 Close-Up Of Hand Holding Heart Shaped Succulent Plant for valentine's

Sutthiwat Srikhrueadam / Getty Images

If I were forced to define my relationship with Valentine's Day, I'd have to say, "it's complicated." On one hand, it's a good excuse to go on a sugar-high-fueled warm-and-fuzzy-heart-shaped spree of sharing the love.

On the other hand, Valentine's Day has become a horribly shopping-driven holiday that encourages us to commodify our relationships and evaluate how much we're loved by how much someone spends on us. Not to mention it creates a lot of trash from wasteful packaging and cards that may not even make it to the recycling bin.

So, to reconcile these two impulses, I'm offering this list of ways to share the love with everyone you adore without hating on the environment.

1. Make an Edible Valentine

heart shaped valentine sugar cookies

Treehugger / Margaret Badore

Vegan treats will sweeten the day without the waste--since they'll definitely be devoured. Consider homemade Sweetheart sugar cookies or chocolate cupcakes with strawberry filling.

2. Avoid E-waste Cards

That singing card might be charming, but e-waste is less cute.

3. Buy Fair Trade and Rainforest Friendly Chocolate

Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Chocolate

Dr. Bronner's

If you're single or not, this day will involve some sort of chocolate for many people, but cocoa farming is associated with some serious ethical and environmental problems. That's why it's important to stick with fair trade chocolate, and look for additional certifications like Rainforest Alliance and USDA Organic.

4. Craft a Recycled Valentine

An old-fashioned homemade Valentine can be way more meaningful than something you find in a store. Consider turning scrap paper, pressed flowers, or fabric scraps into cool, handmade cards and tokens of affection.

5. Shop Your Closet

That scarf you've never worn? That book you're not going to re-read? Consider re-gifting. Or check out your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook or Reddit, which are organized to help you give and receive in your area.

6. Think Local

If you're going to do some gift shopping or eating out, consider supporting a local business instead of a big chain. You can also look for locally made products. For example, the farmer's markets may offer baked goods, honey, soaps, and other crafts that make for lovely gifts.

7. Look for Organic, Local Flowers

organic wildflower bouquet in recycled glass jar sits in sunlight on wooden table

Jena Ardell / Getty Images

If flowers are a must, look for organically grown options from your local plant nursery, because cut flowers can be particularly drenched in toxic pesticides.

8. Consider a Potted Plant

lemon balm grows in terracotta container near windowsill and cactus

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

Even better than cut flowers, why not give a plant that will last longer than a week? There are plenty of pretty house plants that have pink or purple foliage. Or for a potted plant that will still bloom in middle of winter, Dutch Amaryllises can deliver showy white and red blossoms (I love the selection at Colorblends).

9. Choose Sustainable Wine

When it comes to picking a wine, look for the USDA organic seal or a certified biodynamic wine.

10. Select Ethical Jewelry

The Nozomi Project ethical jewelry

Courtesy of The Nozomi Project

I love jewelry that comes with a beautiful story. If jewelry is the only way to delight your beloved, consider browsing your local vintage shop or supporting the Nozomi Project.

11. Send the perfect .GIF

It definitely won't end up in the waste bin.

12. Give a Digital Subscription

There are so many different digital services out there, from podcast networks to audiobooks, workout classes to movie services. A major plus of this type of gift is that it can be completely zero waste, delivered via email or text. A similar idea is a digital gift card.

13. Send a Some Love to Your Favorite Nonprofit

A donation to a nonprofit that's near and dear to your heart can be personally meaningful, or you can make a contribute on someone else's behalf to show them that you care about the same causes they do. If you're short of spare funds, you can also volunteer your time, or even help them out by sharing and liking their posts on social media.

14. Do Something Extra Nice

Maybe it's making dinner for your mom or maybe it's taking out the compost for your roommate. Maybe it's just calling that friend you haven't heard from in a long time. I'm sure you can think of something nice to do for the people you care about, and that's what this day should really be all about.