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Your Guide to a Sustainable Valentine's Day

As you finalize your plans for Valentine’s Day this year, the National Energy Improvement Fund (NEIF) encourages you to make February 14 extra special for not only your loved ones, but the planet as well. As home and business owners, it’s important to remember that NEIF’s message — to Go Greener, Affordably — can apply in all areas of everyday life.

For instance, United States consumers purchase approximately 145 million Valentine’s Day cards in celebration of the holiday each year. This statistic puts Valentine’s Day in second place, behind Christmas, for selling the most seasonal cards annually.

Although intended as a thoughtful gesture, sending handwritten cards has negative impacts on the environment. An Exeter University study revealed that Americans produce the same amount of CO emissions mailing cards in one holiday season alone as charging 22 billion smartphones or the energy usage of 22,000 homes. Given this information, how can you celebrate more sustainably?


How to Celebrate Sustainably

  • Rethink the Role of Greeting Cards
    Having learned about the environmental impact of greeting cards, opt to send E-cards this year instead. Digital cards can still be customized – for free, even – and are conveniently delivered straight to a loved one’s phone via text or email.

  • Purchase Fair Trade Chocolate
    Participating in a more sustainable Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on gifting the classics, like chocolate! Purchasing chocolate that is Fair Trade Certified™ ensures your support of ethical conditions and compensation for the farmers and workers involved in production.

  • Shop for Flowers Locally
    While Valentine’s Day takes a backseat to Christmas for cards sold, February 14 ranks number one for floral purchases. If buying fresh flowers is non-negotiable, try to be intentional about shopping at a nearby plant nursery, as local growers are less likely to use toxic pesticides.

  • Choose Greenery Wisely
    A more sustainable alternative to purchasing flowers on Valentine’s Day is gifting a potted plant. Though considered a hallmark of the holiday, flower bouquets have a much shorter lifespan than plants and are often flown in from overseas. Plants might require greater attention, but they can also serve as a long-lasting reminder of your thoughtfulness. 

  • Prepare a Home-Cooked Meal
    Reduce food waste by cooking dinner for two at home. Between customers’ plates and the kitchen itself, approximately half a pound of food per meal is wasted per meal in U.S. restaurants. Cook sustainably in the comfort of your home using organic and fairtrade ingredients.

  • Invest in a Long-Lasting Gift
    If you were hoping to invest in a more permanent present, perhaps consider taking measures to improve your home — starting with comfort and efficiency. Explore the energy efficiency financing options available to you through NEIF by working with an NEIF-Approved Contractor.


As the nation’s only Certified B Corp specializing in energy efficiency lending, NEIF meets verified standards for social and environmental performance.

Adopting a few new behaviors this Valentine’s Day is just one way that we can begin building a more inclusive and sustainable economy together. Learn how NEIF is financing the transition to a more energy-efficient future here.     


Sources: Brightly, Fair Trade Certified™, Greeting Card Association, Move for Hunger, Society of American Flowers