For kids, Valentine’s Day is all about the goods. “My students often get really excited about handing out the valentines,” says Jackie Dennis, a second-grade teacher in Overland Park, Kansas. “But at the end of the day, each kid is taking home 20 little valentines, treats, and knickknacks that will probably end up in the trash.”
Each year, Americans exchange 145 million greeting cards and spend about $23.9 billion on gifts. But the holiday’s warm and fuzzy intentions have a cost: raw materials to create products and the energy to move them around the globe. “But chocolate, for example, has a strong cultural significance in family and holiday celebrations,” says food expert Carolyn Dimitri.
You don’t need to give up treats to go easy on Earth. Read on to discover eco-friendly shopping tips, quick crafts, and suggestions for disposing the leftovers. After all, protecting the planet is an act of love!