Did you know almost 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year globally, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas? We’ve compiled a handful of tips to help you and your Valentine make this year’s celebration a bit greener!

Flowers, anyone?
Valentine’s Day is the top holiday for fresh flower purchases. Instead of ordering a bouquet from the local florist, consider buying a potted plant or planting a bed of your Valentine’s favorite annuals if you live in a warmer region. In cold winter regions, plant seeds for your favorite annual flowers or vegetables in small indoor garden containers, which you can transplant to an outdoor garden in the spring as young plants. Either option is a great way to be reminded of your love all year long, while adding beauty to your home and community.

Skip the store-bought card!
It’s never fun to run into the store last minute and try to find a meaningful Valentine’s Day card…especially one that isn’t too corny. Instead, consider a hand-written letter or poem on recycled paper. The personal touch will mean something extra to whoever is your Valentine!

Ditch the balloons.
Those shiny heart-shaped balloons may seem pretty, but they are anything but sweet when it comes to the impact they can have on our environment. While the sentiment may be loving, balloons often end up as litter or marine debris, harming wildlife, birds, dolphins, whales, turtles, fish and other animals.

Get imaginative with kids’ treats and gifts.
Many schools have Valentine’s Day parties and encourage kids to bring in treats for their classmates. While extremely festive, this can lead to a lot of additional wasted paper! Have your child make personal Valentine’s on recycled paper or wrap treats in old newspapers, reused boxes, bandanas or other gently used textiles.

Rethink your gifting.
Think outside of the box! Plant a tree, flowers or a fruit or vegetable garden together to symbolize your relationship’s growth. Make something homemade out of meaningful items you find around your house. Upcycling can be a creative way to create something new!

Make your own dinner.
While eating out at restaurants can be delicious, so can a home-cooked meal! Grab organic and fair-trade ingredients from your local farmers’ market and cook a healthy and sustainable meal. This option helps decrease food waste.

Sweet thought…wrong gift.
If the Valentine’s in your life had the best intentions but got it wrong when it came to the gift, consider donating any unwanted gifts to a local food bank or thrift store, such as Goodwill.