Mix red, green for Valentine’s Day
Red is for Valentine’s Day, but there’s no better way to show your environmental colors than to give gifts of green.
No, we’re not talking cash, but rather gifts that are good for the environment.
During the bulk of the holiday season – Thanksgiving to New Year’s – an extra million tons of waste are generated nationwide each week, according to estimates from the California Integrated Waste Management Board.
While Valentine’s Day falls outside this window, the typically gift-heavy holiday still can have repercussions on our world.
“We have a huge impact on the environment during this holiday, from chocolates to flowers to gifts. You can go green by buying organic products that protect the environment,” said Nikki Florio, founder and director of the Tahoe Regional Environmental Education Program.
Here are some examples of available gifts, locally or online:
Organic flowers that are grown in nutrient-rich soil contain fewer toxins than those mass-produced outside the United States. Flowers bought by florists usually come from South America. Organic flowers sold in California are grown in California, Florio said.
Organic flowers such as roses tend to have long shelf lives – about five days – and “smell wonderful,” she said.
Organic flowers can be bought online at http://www.organicbouquet.com or californiaorganicbouquet.com.
Organic chocolates are made from cocoa beans grown without pesticides and herbicides. Ideally, consumers should look for chocolate that is organic and “fair trade,” Florio explained.
Fair-trade products are grown by farmers who are paid a fair living wage, she said. Organic chocolate, both light and dark, is healthy, high in oxidants and doesn’t contain additives or preservatives, which can leave chocolate with a waxy texture, she said.
Popular chocolate brands are Dagoba, Endangered Species, Trader Joe’s and Newman’s Organic Chocolate. They can be found locally at Grassroots or online.
Organic wines are grown with grapes in rich soils without pesticides. Some organic wines contain sulfides to make them last longer. Organic wines run from $10 to $25 per bottle. Organic brands include BonTerra, Jeriko, some Fetzer wines, which use 50 percent organic grapes, and Frey Vin, which uses grapes grown in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Organic lotions, creams, massage oils and soaps are made with natural products, not tested on animals, and are fair trade, she said. Organic brands include Avalon Organics, Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face and Alba Organics.
– Tribune staff writer Adam Jensen contributed to this report.
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