Valentine’s Day is coming up and even though the holiday is all about spreading love and red hearts all around, Donnelly Energy wants to help you sprinkle in some green.

As an energy efficiency firm dedicated to helping New Jersey businesses save money by “going green”, we’re all about efficiency and sustainability. (Even when it comes to holidays and gift-giving.)

We’ve come up with a few ideas to help make your Valentine’s Day a little more environmentally friendly, while still being easy on your wallet.

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Choose fair-trade chocolates.

Let’s all face it – a big majority of us will end up stuck in a line waiting to buy our sweetheart a last-minute box of chocolates. Here’s a small reminder to get ahead of the game and to save yourself a headache.

When buying chocolates, keep an eye out for chocolates with a fair trade seal. By choosing a fair trade chocolate brand, you’re helping to ensure that your cocoa was ethically and sustainably farmed. (See a nice guide here at fairtradeamerica.org.)

Ditch the roses and go for a potted plant.

Cut roses die within a week. In 2019, the US spent over $1.9 Billion on flowers alone on Valentine’s Day. Flowers that were most likely imported from other countries and that used a huge amount of energy to transport and store before getting into your hands. (And with that, released huge amounts of carbon emissions in the process).

Is it really worth it for a product that lasts only 1 to 7 days? A potted plant can last months, if not years, with a little TLC. Consider switching to a plant, that way you’ll help limit the environmental impact.

(If your significant other absolutely has to have flowers though, shop local to help your community and ask if they have flowers from a local bloomer. Added bonus points if you use butcher paper instead of plastic to wrap them!)

Buy an experience instead of a gift.

Consider buying a gift you both can enjoy, like an experience! Take your S.O. out ice-skating, eat at a local farm-to-table restaurant, or do a “paint and sip”. Pick something that you would both enjoy and that can help boost your local economy. Giving an experience rather than a gift can help make sure it doesn’t end up in a landfill somewhere!

But if you do buy a gift, gift responsibly.

Consider giving sustainable and ethically sourced gifts for your valentine. Are they a big fan of baths and skincare products? Lush Cosmetics has a fun Valentine’s Day collection you can give. Big wine fans? Buy from organic or sustainably-sourced wine companies.

Maybe your S.O. is just starting on their sustainability or zero waste journey? You can buy them a starter kit online or go the extra “green” mile and make your own. (It also adds a more personable touch to the gift if you make your own.)

Skip the cheesy greeting card.

Why spend anywhere from $1 to $6 on a basic Valentine’s Day greeting card that will eventually end up in a landfill? Consider writing a personalized love letter, that way it really comes from the heart.

If you’re not at that level yet though, a cute DIY Valentine’s Day Card using recyclable material can do the trick.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

In the end, Valentine’s Day is all about love. By showing a little bit of love to the environment, along with your Valentine, can go a long way.

Donnelly Energy helps New Jersey businesses become energy efficient, save money, and help the environment - all without breaking the bank. As a participating contractor with Direct Install from New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™, Donnelly provides upgrades in the commercial lighting and HVACR categories at up to 70% off. Learn more at www.donnellyenergy.com/NJDI or sign up for a free assessment at www.donnellyenergy.com/assessment.