By: Shelby Egan
While celebrating this year’s Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to show the environment some love! Valentine’s Day festivities often include exchanging cards with friends and classroom parties full of sweets. As a kid, I remember my mom buying me my favorite Disney character cards to pass out in class, which often meant multiple trips to the store to find the perfect Cinderella or Little Mermaid card. Along with this came candy hearts, chocolate goodies and decorating our house with colorful window decals. You can still have just as much fun, but now there are ways to do so in an environmentally friendly way. You can do so by:
1. When buying Valentine’s Day cards at the store, check the label of the box and see if the cards were made with recycled content. If so, buy cards that were made with recycled content instead of non-recycled. You can also make Valentine’s Day cards at home with recycled construction paper. This will help save the amount of resources used and can be fun to decorate and personalize your own cards.
2. As a party activity, take old magazines and newspapers to make a Valentine’s Day collage with friends. You can have fun creating a project using materials that would otherwise be recycled or thrown out.
3. Create re-used, homemade bookmarks as gifts for family and friends. Take an old tissue box or cereal box and cut 2”x 5” strips. Color or paint these with red, pink and white and write a message to a friend.
4. If you are baking treats to share with friends, ask your parent or guardian to buy organic ingredients locally. Sweets will taste just as good but will also be good for the environment.
Have fun celebrating the day with the ones you love, and don’t forget how easy it is to be environmentally friendly.
Shelby Egan is a student volunteer in the EPA’s Air and Radiation Division in Region 5, and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has a passion for protecting natural resources, cities she’s never been to and cooking any recipe by The Pioneer Woman.