9 ways to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day

February 8, 2019 by  
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While there is no truth to the rumor that Hallmark invented Valentine’s Day, there is no denying that many people think of it as a manufactured holiday designed to sell cards, flowers and chocolate. Every February 14th, millions of people buy cards and roses, and drop a ton of cash on diamonds, gold and silver. In 2019, Americans are expected to spend almost 20 billion dollars for the romantic holiday, and that breaks down to nearly $150 a person. All of that consumer spending leads to a lot of waste . A holiday dedicated to love shouldn’t be about how much money you spend. You can still do a lot of romantic things that don’t destroy your budget and the environment. Rethink your chocolate choices Instead of picking up a last minute box of chocolates from the nearest convenience store, plan in advance to buy organic or local chocolate. Then, opt for minimal packaging instead of heart-shaped boxes or plastic molds. Go green with your Valentine’s cards Even though everything seems to be digital these days, more than 180 million paper cards are still exchanged on Valentine’s Day. Paper mills use huge amounts of water and emit loads of chemicals, not to mention, the trees that have to die to make these cards. Even recycled cards will emit methane when they decompose in a landfill. This year, skip the traditional paper card and make one yourself out of old magazines or give a card made from plantable seed paper. You can also send a custom E-Card or chalk a sidewalk where you know your significant other will see it. Related: 6 ways to reuse your Valentine’s Day roses Pick organic bouquets The flower industry is surprisingly destructive when it comes to the environment because of the heavy pesticide use. So, minimize your impact this Valentine’s Day by giving your loved one an organic bouquet or pick some flowers out of your own garden or visit the local farmer’s market. If you do visit your local farmer’s market, that is also a great place to find local, seasonal treats instead of buying something that’s been shipped from thousands of miles away. Stick to vintage jewelry There are numerous environmental and human rights problems that come from mining gold and diamonds. So, instead of buying brand new jewelry, opt for a vintage piece that makes a statement. Or, consider something that has been made from recycled metal, paper or other repurposed materials. Skip the restaurant Many of us look at Valentine’s Day as an excuse to dine out at a fabulous restaurant and drop a little extra cash. However, there is nothing more romantic than making a meal together at home in your own kitchen. Not only is cooking a meal at home better for your wallet, but it is also better for the environment because it will mean less food waste and no to-go boxes. Donate to a cause Instead of exchanging gifts or indulging with an expensive night out, you can go eco-friendly this Valentine’s Day by making a donation to an environmental cause or animal shelter in your loved one’s name. Or, you can go further than a donation and save an animal from a shelter by giving a shelter dog or cat as a gift. Just make sure that your significant other actually wants a pet. Related: Green Valentine gifts for Earth-loving sweethearts Make your own bath products A hot bubble bath with your Valentine is a great way to spend the evening, but there is no need to buy bath and body products from chain stores or big box stores. Instead, make your own bath salts, bath bombs, sugar scrubs or bath oils. There are plenty of recipes on the internet and most of them use natural ingredients. Plant a tree Skip the cut flowers this Valentine’s Day and instead plant a tree together as an ongoing reminder of your love and your relationship. If you aren’t ready for a tree, you can opt for a plant. And, if you still want to see beautiful flowers on the holiday, visit a botanical garden or nature reserve and take a romantic stroll. Use eco-friendly protection and undies Go green in the bedroom this Valentine’s Day with vegan condoms from companies like Sustain Natural, Glyde, L. or Lovability. Traditional condom companies aren’t very forthcoming with their ingredients, so we don’t know how long it takes for them to biodegrade. So, to stay eco-friendly this Valentine’s Day, go vegan — at least in the bedroom. Via Sierra Club Images via Sharon McCutcheon , Shutterstock

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9 ways to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day

Avoid the crowds with these 10 alternatives to Black Friday shopping

November 23, 2018 by  
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The unofficial kick-off to the holiday season is virtually stamped on the calendar the day after Thanksgiving . Titled Black Friday — from the idea that it is the time of year retailers leave the red column and enter the profit, or black, column — the commercialization of the third Friday in November is somewhat of a pop phenomenon with a cult-like following. Merchants hype up and advertise specials, deals and savings weeks in advance while people prepare to rise at 4 a.m. just hours after completing their holiday feasts. If you prefer to avoid the madness, here are some alternatives. It’s not surprising that so many people participate in Black Friday. After all, it is the season of giving. Many look forward to spending the day with spouses, siblings or parents. Others like to complete their holiday shopping early so they can enjoy the upcoming weeks in other ways. But from a different perspective, Thanksgiving offers a rare 4-day weekend, leaving many unencumbered by school and work obligations. This is an opportunity to enjoy the last bits of decent fall weather, spend time with family or try something new. So while everyone else is out battling for the newest electronics, fill your Black Friday with some of these shopping alternatives, many of which are good for your health , the environment and your wallet. Volunteer Nothing feeds the soul like helping others. Volunteer to serve a meal at a local homeless shelter; these shelters often seek volunteers for special meals served during the holidays. Also, track down your local food bank. Food banks are always looking for extra hands during the busy season. Volunteer options abound, so choose to participate in something that you’re passionate about such as a church bazaar, a beach clean-up or a gift wrap event to support foster children or servicepeople. If you’d rather spend the day alone, make crafts to donate to a worthy cause, scoop leaves out of drains on your street or make repairs at an elderly neighbor’s home. Get into nature Fall is that forgiving season where you might need an extra layer, but the harsh winter days have not yet arrived. Take advantage of the weather and enjoy some time in nature . Invite a friend for a walk or take the dogs for a long hike. Pedal the miles on your street bike or hit the hills with your mountain bike. Go bird watching, camping or kayaking. If the snow has arrived, hit the slopes for skiing or snowboarding. Related: Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials Take a trip The long holiday weekend is the perfect time to take a mini vacation. Hit the beach , visit family or explore someplace you’ve never been. Locally, you can set a goal of visiting all the parks in your area. Do home improvements Life gets busy with the daily 9-5, so when you have a couple of days off work, it’s nice to tackle home improvement. Clean out the garage, donate cans and bottles to a local fundraiser, make trips to donation centers and get the recycling out of the house. Perhaps paint a room or install new flooring. You could also complete those outdoor tasks of cleaning up the garden, building new beds and repairing gates. Attend a local event Merchants and vendors know that you’re spending the day with family, so there are ample opportunities to find an event that suits your interests. Look on community boards for information about craft fairs, wine tastings and musical events. With part of your thoughts wrapped up in holiday gift giving, pick up gift certificates for lunch while you’re at the winery, buy concert tickets for a friend or purchase small local goods such as honey and tea and then put together gift baskets as the holidays get closer. Host a friendsgiving Friendsgiving is a growing tradition where people assemble for a casual pre- or post-Thanksgiving gathering. Commonly, people bring leftovers or a favorite recipe , so everyone contributes to a potluck-style dinner. You could make it a family event, invite couples or just have friends over. Structure the day the way you want with an emphasis on quality time together and no stress. Make it a pajama party. Write thank you cards to each other or others. Have a movie marathon or cue up a sporting event on TV. Make gifts Instead of marching in to the nearest mall, spend the day making your own gifts . Have a wreath-making party, whip up a batch of Kahlua drinks and place in cute bottles, prepare gifts in a jar such as cookie or soup ingredients, make salt dough ornaments or get out the sewing machine to create heat packs or door draft blockers. Related: Inexpensive DIY holiday centerpieces and decorations Schedule a date Get out with others and attend a movie, go bowling, visit the zoo, head to the theater, check out an art exhibit or museum, get a pedicure or massage or check out a local escape room. Create memories at home In today’s busy world, it’s rare to truly unplug and revel in moments at home. Plan a craft with the kids, make snowflakes for decorations, work a puzzle, make homemade popcorn and gather the family for a movie or dig out the board games. These are the things your family will remember long after the store-bought items are unwrapped and eventually discarded. Support alternatives to big box stores Hit up the secondhand market through thrift stores and estate sales, shop locally and support small businesses and scour Etsy and other online merchants for crafters who make creative, one-of-a-kind items. When you do make purchases from retailers, support those in alignment with your eco-friendly beliefs. Also check out Shop for Good Sunday , a community of companies that aim to be responsible stewards in business. If you decide to go shopping, remember to carry the spirit of the season with you. Allow someone to park in a space when you arrive simultaneously, offer to return a shopping cart for a mother with small children, help the elderly across the road and let someone with only a few items check out before you. Also think about ways you can minimize waste by purchasing items with responsible packaging, bring your own bags to the store and refuse bags or boxes that you do not need. Images via Rawpixel ( 1 , 2 ), Fidel Fernando , Kane Reinholdtsen , Traveler , Kelsey Chance , Michael Mroczek , Myke Simon , Picsea ,  Heidi Sandstrom and Shutterstock

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Avoid the crowds with these 10 alternatives to Black Friday shopping

16 last minute gifts for the green procrastinator

December 14, 2017 by  
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Were you so busy surfing the web for cool gift ideas that you totally forgot to do any actual shopping? If so, there’s no need to fret because we’ve got you covered with a last-minute gift guide full of clever and imaginative presents that can be whipped up at the 11th hour . Check out all of our ideas – from a basket full of practical presents they’re sure to appreciate to the ever-elusive gift of closet organization and this foolproof crowd-pleaser . LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEAS >

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16 last minute gifts for the green procrastinator

14 superb gifts for your furry friends

December 7, 2017 by  
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If you’re strapped for ideas about what to get your dog, cat, rabbit, iguana, or parrot this holiday season, fear not! We’ve collected a bunch of great gift ideas ranging from tasty snacks to super-fun toys . Read on to discover some of the treasures we’ve found for your furry and feathery friends this year. GIFTS FOR FURRY FRIENDS >

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14 superb gifts for your furry friends

Creative DIY gifts you can make yourself

December 7, 2017 by  
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Making your own DIY gifts this holiday season is a smart way to ensure that your present will be one-of-a-kind, and it doesn’t hurt that it’ll probably save you some cash too. We’ve rounded up a list of cool and creative homemade presents for the holiday season from tricked out terrariums to make-it-yourself lip balm to custom cat pillows . Check out our DIY Gift Guide to see them all! + DIY GIFT IDEAS

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Creative DIY gifts you can make yourself

ANNOUNCING: Inhabitat’s 2017 Green Holiday Gift Guide!

December 1, 2017 by  
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The holidays are almost here – and we’re thrilled to announce Inhabitat’s 2017 Green Holiday Gift Guide ! We’ve hunted high and low for the best eco-friendly gifts to help make your holiday shopping a little easier. This year, we’ve rounded up gifts that will thrill the guys and gals in your life, gifts that you can make , gifts that won’t break the bank , gifts that cost nothing but time and even gifts for the home and for your furry friends (and if you leave things until the last minute, we’ve got gifts for that , too). Grab your laptop, put on some tunes and get ready to win the holidays. GIFTS FOR GUYS > GIFTS FOR LADIES > GIFTS FOR KIDS > GIFTS FOR THE HOME > GADGETS GIFTS > GIFTS FOR THE GREEN THUMB > GIFTS FOR FURRY FRIENDS > GIFTS OF TIME > MAKE YOUR OWN GIFTS > GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK > HEIRLOOM GIFTS > LAST MINUTE GIFTS >

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ANNOUNCING: Inhabitat’s 2017 Green Holiday Gift Guide!

14 eco jewelry gifts for fashion-savvy friends

December 3, 2016 by  
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Gorgeous, eco-jewelry can be hard to come by if you don’t know where to look. To make the search easier, we rounded up 17 of our favorite sustainable jewelry pieces each with a unique story behind it. From handcrafted pieces made from reclaimed metals  to unique bracelets created by skilled artisans under fair trade principles and terrarium pendants , each gift will surely be treasured by the special person to receive them. ECO JEWELRY >

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14 eco jewelry gifts for fashion-savvy friends

14 eco jewelry gifts for fashion-savvy friends

December 3, 2016 by  
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Gorgeous, eco-jewelry can be hard to come by if you don’t know where to look. To make the search easier, we rounded up 17 of our favorite sustainable jewelry pieces each with a unique story behind it. From handcrafted pieces made from reclaimed metals  to unique bracelets created by skilled artisans under fair trade principles and terrarium pendants , each gift will surely be treasured by the special person to receive them. ECO JEWELRY >

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14 eco jewelry gifts for fashion-savvy friends

14 exquisite handmade gifts

December 1, 2016 by  
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If you’re looking for sustainably-sourced gifts that will truly surprise your loved ones, feast your eyes on our collection of exquisitely handmade gift options for this year. Produced by under-the-radar designers, you’ll discover unique items for everyone on your list. From foraged botanical perfume oil to hand-drawn floor plans of your favorite TV characters’ homes, we’ve got you covered with one-of-a-kind gifts that will inspire. UNIQUE HANDMADE GIFTS>

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14 exquisite handmade gifts

13 charitable green gifts that give back

November 29, 2016 by  
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Today is Giving Tuesday – and to celebrate we’ve rounded up 13 organizations that help you turn your holiday shopping into an act of kindness. Voltaic donates up to three solar power kits to aid workers for every solar charger it sells , the National Wildlife Federation dedicates proceeds from its holiday birdseed wreaths to protect American wild animals, and you can even adopt an African elephant for just $25 from the World Wildlife Fund. Check out our favorite gifts that give back here ! GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK >

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13 charitable green gifts that give back

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