The breakup you might need this Valentine's Day

Breakups might not be the first thing springing to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day. But it’s top of mind for sustainability advocates, as we talk shop on why it may be time to cut ties with flowers this Feb. 14.

In 2019, a study from the National Retail Federation found that Americans were projected to spend nearly $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2019 and, of that spent, around $1.9 billion was spent on flowers.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, giving flowers has been a significant part of culture. Whether it’s a single flower or a bouquet of them, the gift of blooms has continued as a way for people to express love, make an apology or serve as a thoughtful gesture.

Decades ago, flowers were grown relatively close to where consumers bought them, but now, they’re being shipped from thousands of miles away—around 60% of fresh-cut retail flowers in the U.S. come from Colombia and approximately 20% from Ecuador. In the three weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, the International Council on Clean Transportation found that flights carrying flowers to the United States burn around 114 million liters of fuel, releasing nearly 360,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Looking for a sustainable way to celebrate your love this year? Here’s a roundup of ways to say “I love you” the green way!

Give a potted plant.

Studies by NASA have proven that houseplants can eliminate as much as 87% of airborne toxins in as few as 24 hours. As an added benefit, they can also help improve concentration and productivity by up 15%, reduce stress levels and boost your mood.

Not sure where to start your potted plant shopping? Check out our list of 6 low-maintenance plants that can improve indoor air quality.

Try a seed starter kit.

If you’re looking to cultivate your love’s green thumb, you may consider buying them a seed starter kit. As your relationship grows, so does your plant and the aesthetic of your home (or office)—it’s a win-win-win.

Buy local flowers.

If you’re going the flower route, be sure to by your blooms local and sustainable. There are probably a bunch of local flower farms that grow buds right near you—helping you reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact.

Learn more about making sustainable choices