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Green Gifts

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RETHINK ROMANTIC GIFTS

We know, we know: Valentine's Day is a consumerist holiday invented by greeting-card companies, jewelers and chocolatiers. But that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed responsibly and in a giving spirit. This year, consider giving e-cards instead of paper cards, antique or recycled jewelryethical chocolate, organic (or home-grown) flowers, and digital playlists instead of packaged CDs. If you must wrap your gift, consider planet-friendly options.

LOOK BEHIND THE SHINE

Vintage jewelry is a great choice for romantic souls who don't romanticize the environmental and human-rights problems associated with mining diamonds and gold. For a bold (and not necessarily bank-breaking) statement, consider a distinctive piece made from recycled metalpaper, or other repurposed materials.

ECO-UNDERWEAR

Earth-conscious undergarments aren't just for women. This Valentine's Day, consider getting your man one of Freshpair's two green options: the Bamboo Mesh Army Trunk ($24), made almost entirely of bamboo, and the Push-Up Biker Boxer Brief ($39), which is 68 percent bamboo.

GIVE EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS

If you give your Valentine a tchotchke or doodad, consider how soon it may end up in a landfill. Instead, you can plan a hike and a picnic in your mutually favorite nature spot. Other memorable small-footprint ideas include a day at an organic spa, a gift certificate to a vegetarian restaurant, a cooking or dancing class, tickets to a nearby concert or play, or a subscription to a local CSA. You can even adopt a national park in your sweetheart's name. If you do choose to give an object, check out Sierra magazine's guide to green Valentine's gifts.

10 DIY GIFTS

Making a gift for your loved one is a whole lot more fun and personal. Not to mention all the green you'll save, monetarily and environmentally speaking.

GREEN WEDDING GIFTS

Weddings inspire and delight us, but these sacred events have grown into resource-sapping affairs. Here's how to pull off your dream celebration without a huge carbon footprint and an empty bank account.

GIFT CARDS, WITHOUT THE PLASTIC

Gift cards are all the craze: They're fast, easy, and convenient. But admit it: Plastic is practically a four-letter word. Don't fret. GiftRocket, a start-up company, takes the card out of gift cards.

GREEN GIFT WRAP

Eco-friendly alternatives to commercial mass-produced wrapping paper.

 

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