Valentine's Day is the second largest card-sending holiday after Christmas, with nearly a billion valentines sent globally each year, according to the Greeting Card Association. These red, pink, and white cards, with their messages of friendship, happiness, and love are contributing to deforestation and landfill waste. In addition to requiring virgin paper, greeting card manufacturing practices involve environmentally damaging toxic printer inks and fixing agents, require large amounts of energy, and generate pollution. With all this in mind, just how are eco-conscious lovers supposed to send Valentines this year?
Many online greeting cards are just as good – and just as sentimental or funny – as regular paper cards, with the added bonus of being easy to find and send.
- e-Cards.com: Free online Valentine's Day and Love greeting cards in cartoon-style, animated, photograph, animal, or flower themes.
- Alaskan Wildcard “Love” Postcards: Choose from photos of wild animals and outdoor scenes in Alaska, and then personalize the free e-greetings with your own Valentine's Day messages.
- Valentine Greeting Cards by Prairie Frontier: Free Valentine's Day e-greeting cards with wild flower designs and photos.
- American Greetings: You can sign up for a free trial and then shop for personalized Valentine's Day e-cards you can send through email, to Facebook, or to a mobile phone.
- Hallmark: You can visit their website and choose from a limited selection of free Valentine's Day e-cards, or you can pay $12 a year for a subscription and send as many e-cards you want, all year long.
CRAFT HOMEMADE VALENTINE CARDS
Put a little extra time into your special someone's Valentine and you'll give them a gift that's personal, thoughtful, and eco-friendly. Here are some of the household materials you could use to fashion your earth-loving Valentines this year:
- Articles or pictures in used newspapers or magazines that pertain to your loved one. You can create a picture collage or spell out a message with cut-out letters or words.
- Used tissue paper, wrapping paper, and bows.
- Take a torn, unreadable book apart and find interesting passages as a background for the card. Then supplement the creation with colorful construction paper for flare and support.
- Maps, junk mail, holiday cards, paper bags, sheet music, brochures, and invitations.
- Visit TheLongThread.com for some tips on creating recycled Valentines.
PURCHASE ECO-FRIENDLY VALENTINE CARDS
- Botanical PaperWorks: Be truly eco-friendly this Valentine's Day by giving your sweetheart a card made from post-consumer waste that's embedded with high-grade, pure North American wildflower seeds. Your loved one not only receives a heartfelt gesture, they get to recycle the card into wildflowers simply by planting it!
- Smock Paper: This Syracuse, New York-based print shop is the first in the U.S. to offer printing on luxury bamboo paper. They developed the paper in order to provide a more sustainable product to consumers. Their Valentine's Day cards aren't just sustainably letterpressed on bamboo paper; they also bear unique artwork and one-of-a-kind sentiments you have to see for yourself!
- Good on Paper: Created by San Fransisco-based graphic designer Lisa Wong Jackson, Good on Paper Designs uses recycled paper, earth friendly inks, and organic cotton whenever possible. The “You + Me Bench” card, for example, is printed on recycled cardstock and features vegetable-based red ink.