Valentines Day

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Eco-friendly ways to celebrate Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is second only to the holiday season with regard to gift giving. Although this day devoted to love and exchanging gifts can be wasteful, that does not mean those with a mind toward green and simple living should ignore the holiday altogether. In fact, there are plenty of different ways to celebrate Valentine's Day with conservation in mind.

• Bee mine: Give a loved one the gift of a jar of raw honey from a nearby bee farm with a pun-themed love note that says "bee mine."

• Smart greetings: When choosing greeting cards, select those printed on recycled paper using all-natural inks. Otherwise, create your own paper or digital greetings. If making your own paper greeting, be sure to make it with a reusable material that can be repurposed once Valentine's Day has come and gone.

• Purchase an artisan gift. Gifts don't have to be mass-produced items made in factories. Looks for handmade gifts designed by local artisans who don't need fuel to deliver their creations around the world. Or look to gifts that help support a cause, such as crafts made by indigenous people to support their independent living.

• Homemade meal: Take to cooking a meal at home for your valentine. Once you settle on his or her favorite foods, be sure to source out local, organic and free-range ingredients.

• Give the gift of a massage. Massages can help relieve stress and pain. Because massage is a service rather than a product, there will be no residual waste. Other service gifts include manicure/pedicures, spa treatments and hair salon services.

• Adopt an animal. Work with a local kennel to adopt a pet or speak with a favorite conservation group about financially supporting an animal. Sweethearts who are animal lovers may find this to be the ideal gift.

• Offer living plants. Cut flowers certainly look beautiful, but they may require many resources for planting, cutting and transporting. That's especially true for non-native, out-of-season flowers. Potted plants can live indefinitely as long as they are cared for properly.

• Purchase Fair Trade™ chocolate. Make sure the chocolate or other gifts being purchased are in line with fair trade policies. Fair Trade Certified™ products are made with respect to people and planet. Rigorous social, environmental and economic standards are employed to promote safe, healthy working conditions, protect the environment, enable transparency, and empower communities to build strong, thriving businesses.

Valentine's Day celebrations can be enjoyed in an eco-friendly way that can make this special day even more meaningful to eco-conscious couples.