Valentine's Day is the day of love, why not make Mother Earth your Valentine on February 14th!

Between the flowers, chocolates, and gifts, the millions of people in the United States who celebrate Valentine's Day generate a lot of waste!  By altering the way you do a few traditions this year, you can show a lot more love to the environment in your Valentine's Day celebrations.

Create Your Own Cards

According to the Greeting Card Association, people swap an average of 145 million greeting cards at Valentine's Day in the U.S.  Ditch the paper cards and send digital cards, emails, or text messages instead.  Many smartphones have the capability to send gif's and other e-cards instantly.  If you need physical cards for various celebrations, consider making your own paper cards with materials you already have around the house!  Not only are these more unique and sustainable than store-bought cards, but they make for a fun activity to do with others.  Plus, paper can be recycled as long as you don't add glitter, foil or plastic to the card.

Pick Fair Trade Flowers

For centuries people have used flowers, especially roses, as a way to express their love for one another.  However, the floriculture industry has some negative implications for both the environment and workers producing them.  On average, Americans purchase 198 million stems of roses on Valentine's Day.

Many of these flower exports come from the Netherlands, Columbia, Kenya, Ecuador, and Ethiopia.  Since flowers are not edible crops, the industry has very loose regulations.  This includes the use of pesticides, such as methyl bromide, which is banned in the U.S.  The chemical is toxic to the workers farming these flowers, and is also five times more destructive to the environment than carbon dioxide. 

You can eliminate the carbon footprint of importing flowers by purchasing from a local organic flower stand in your community.  Try this resource for finding a local sustainable flower farmer in your neighborhood.

Buy Better Chocolate

According to, Americans consume an average of 58 million pounds of chocolate at Valentine's Day.  The cocoa beans used to produce most of this chocolate are grown in West Africa, where cocoa farming is responsible for 70% of the country's deforestation.  Cocoa tree farms in West Africa also often use child labor in growing, harvesting, and transporting cocoa beans.

If you are purchasing chocolate for Valentine's Day this year, make sure it is Fair Trade Certified.  You can find Fair Trade Certified chocolate at your local natural foods store, or by searching the Fair Trade products database.

Walk Hand-In-Hand At Your Local Park

Finding the perfect gift for your valentine can seem daunting, but there is no better gift than time spent together.  Choose from a list of romantic backdrops at Maryland State and National parks, perfect for a Valentine’s Day rendezvous.  From firsthand history lessons to heart-pumping adventures, Maryland’s parks boast an exceptional list of experiences and activities year-round.  If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, you’ll be inspired by all there is to do – and love – in our national and local parks.  You might even get lucky and see a pair of lovebirds!

Give a Gift in Your Valentine's Honor

Rather than buying gifts this year, consider giving a donation in your loved one's name instead.  Consider a gift to IPC, but there are so may good causes out there.  Donate to a charity and put love out into the universe!

With a little research and knowledge, you can make sure that your Valentine's Day gift is more ethical and easier on the environment.