By: Follow South Jersey Staff
CAMDEN, N.J — In an effort to help residents practice environmentally friendly traditions, Camden County officials are offering suggestions for greener options to ensure loved ones and the planet will both be happy this Valentine’s Day.
Opt for recycled cards or e-cards: According to the American Greetings corporation, over one billion Valentine’s Day cards are bought annually. Buying cards made out of recycled materials would cut back on the single use items in the waste cycle. For an extra special touch, make a card using recycled materials. Even recycled cards, though, end up in the landfill, where they emit methane as they decompose. One alternative is to make a card out of old magazines and wall calendars. Another is to give a card made of plantable seed paper; bury it and when the paper biodegrades, the seeds grow into wildflowers. Or if you’re tech oriented, try an e-card. They’re free and have no waste!
Cook a dinner made from locally grown ingredients: Our region has tons of farmer’s markets and other places to find fresh, local produce. Shop for your dinner ingredients there to cut back on the energy and fuel of transporting foods. Plus, it may even be cheaper than the grocery store!
Use candlelight: Turn off the electric lights and opt for a night by the candlelight. It’s very romantic and cuts back on your energy use!
This year, consider giving antique or recycled jewelry, ethical chocolate, organic (or home-grown) flowers, and digital playlists instead of packaged items. If you must wrap your gift, consider planet-friendly options.
To minimize your impact if you’re buying flowers, consider ordering an organic bouquet. Better yet, bike over to your neighborhood garden center to buy a locally grown burst of color (make sure to ask the farmer whether what you’re buying is free of pesticides). Remember, too, that a potted plant always lasts longer.
When going out to eat, choose a restaurant that uses local, seasonal, organic ingredients and has lots of vegetarian options. If you’re planning a multi-day getaway, consider a staycation, camping, or a green hotel. Wherever you go, coordinate to take public transit or a bicycle.
If you give your Valentine a tchotchke or doodad, consider how soon it may end up in a landfill. Instead, you can plan a hike and a picnic in your mutually favorite nature spot. Other memorable small-footprint ideas include a day at an organic spa, a gift certificate to a vegetarian restaurant, a cooking or dancing class, tickets to a nearby concert or play, or a subscription to a local community supported agriculture (CSA) program. You can even adopt a national park in your sweetheart’s name.
Valentine’s Day is a veritable boon for chocolate companies. Ensure that you’re supporting the most responsible confectioners by buying organic, local, or shade-grown. And if you can, resist the convenience of that frilly heart-shaped box with all those individual paper wrappings tucked into a plastic mold. Instead, go for a less packaged (but just as romantic) option.
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