Valentines Day: bad for environment

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COLUMBIA – Valentine’s Day may be a day full of chocolate covered strawberries and heart-felt love letters, but some environmental sustainability experts think the day does more harm than good.  

Tiger Garden’s Floral Designer, Leslei Ghan Cravens, said around 250 million roses are produced each year, and most have their own greenhouse gas footprint. 

The production of cards, chocolate boxes and the transportation to deliver all the Valentine’s gifts produce a lot of carbon dioxide emissions, some conservationists say.

The University of Missouri’s Sustainability Manager, Raghu Raghavan, has four main recommendations on how to show someone you love them, in a more environmentally-friendly way. 

The first, is to make your own cards at home.

“It’s less damaging to the environment in terms of the resources that go into card manufacture, the ink and also the disposal,” Raghavan said. 

Raghavan said cards that are biled as eco-friendly aren’t actually much better for the environment.

“It’s very commendable that card companies make eco-friendly cards, however, the recycle content of these cards only 20-30 percent,” Raghavan said. “They are not 100% recycled. It would be ideal if individuals made their own cards or send out an e-card, whose green house footprint is considerably lower.” 

Raghavan said researchers estimate e-cards have a 60-600 percent lower footprint than paper cards. 

He also said buying local wine, cards and flowers is one of the biggest ways to help the economy.  

“We give a boost to the local economy,” Raghavan said. “We reduce the green-house gas footprint of the item that we purchased because it’s local and then the travel footprint is considerably less or reduced.”

Cravens said flowers have a huge greenhouse-gas footprint because most flowers come from overseas.

“On average, there’s maybe one to five planes that come in per day to the Miami Port, and right now it’s 30 per day and it will be that way for two weeks,” Cravens said. “That’s just our international flowers, that’s not talking about our flowers that are trucked or flown from Florida or California or flown to different wholesalers.”

Cravens said there are other ways to make your flowers more eco-friendly.  

“You can ask for your flowers to be wrapped in maybe a tissue paper that is biodegradable, you could do newspaper, some people wrap in butcher paper or recycled paper,” she said.

Raghavan said what’s really important is that people can still have a good Valentine’s Day, while protecting the environment.

“What we encourage is responsible consumption, in that, we encourage people to cherish the experience more than the consumer aspect of Valentine’s Day,” he said.