Be my (eco) Valentine

Photo: iStockphoto.com/hilmi_m
12 sweet and mindful gift ideas for that special someone

Valentine’s Day is all about love, romance and, well…consumerism. This year, pick something that’ll appeal to your Valentine’s heart and conscience. We’ve rounded up 12 Cupid-approved present ideas for a sweet, sexy and sustainable February 14.





Jewelry

Jewelry is one of the most popular V-day gifts, and there’s a bounty of lovely ethical, recycled, vintage and fairly traded pieces. For a splurge, we love this elegant Bezel-Set Solitaire ring from Fair Trade Jewellery Company (FTJCo). It has a conflict-free, Canadian diamond and is made with FTJCo’s own line of 100-percent-recycled metals. After all, (ethical) diamonds are a girl’s best friend!


Flowers

Flowers are the perfect symbol of love, so choose a bouquet that shows love for the Earth and respect for those who made it (read more about this here. We love Toronto’s eco|stems, a full-service eco flower shop that offers local, organic and fair-trade-certified flowers and plants for delivery or pickup. They actually walk, bike or use public transportation or a ride-share service to deliver their flowers!


Wine

Opt for wine that is as sustainable as it is scrumptious. Pick up a bottle of vino from Southbrook Vineyards, a Niagara-on-the-Lake winery that produces certified organic and certified biodynamic wines (biodynamic choices include Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, icewine and more). The winery is even LEED Gold certified.





Chocolate

Trust us when we say you can’t go wrong with chocolate – organic and fair trade, of course. Grab a bar of Zazubean: each one is Fair for Life certified (a rigorous third-party certification for social accountability and fair trade), certified organic, GMO-free and made with at least 70 percent cacao. Oh, did we mention that chocolate is an aphrodisiac?


Lingerie

Pick up some lingerie for a Valentine’s Day (and night) to remember. Look for durable, well-made pieces with eco-friendly fabrics. We love Stella McCartney’s Stella line, an affordable collection with a conscience. The line uses recycled metal hardware and organic cotton gussets.





Perfume

Most perfumes on the market are packed with harmful chemicals and toxic ingredients that you probably wouldn’t want your sweetie to rub on her skin. Try this elegant Rose Perfume Oil from Cocoon Apothecary. It’s a 100-percent-natural perfume made from pure floral extracts, infused into a base of certified organic sweet almond oil. (Also available in lavender, neroli or jasmine.)


Card

you are lovedSpare virgin forests and opt for cards printed on recycled paper (even better if they have non-toxic inks). We love this Me to We “We Give Clean Water” card. Not only is the card printed on recycled paper, but when you purchase it, a family overseas gets 100 litres of clean water.


Bath and body products

Bath and body products are perfect for gift giving (and sharing a romantic bath). Avoid products that contain harmful chemicals – if you wouldn’t put it in your body, don’t put it on your body. (Read more about how to decode labels on skin-care products.) Our hearts are aflutter for this gift basket from Penny Lane Organics. It’s full of 100-percent-natural items like beautiful, handcrafted glycerin soaps, bath salts, moisturizing creams, lotions and lip balms.


Sex toy

There’s nothing sexy about phthalates, toxic chemicals found in many sex toys. Spice up the bedroom with safer toys from ecosex.ca. The phthalate-free We Vibe 4 is rechargeable (no more batteries in the trash), durable and designed in Canada – we love it!

Psst – done with that bedroom toy? Toronto’s Come As You Are shop has created Canada’s first silicone sex toy and vibrator recycling program!


An experience

Delight your sweetheart with an experience rather than a thing. Food and love go hand in hand, so why not give yourselves a delicious gift this Valentine’s Day? President’s Choice Cooking School offers unique classes for novices and gourmet cooks alike. After all, the couple that cooks together stays together!


A getaway

Surprise your love with a getaway that will satisfy his or her wanderlust in conscientious style. Whisk your partner away to E’Terra, a LEED Gold certified resort four hours northwest of Toronto. Enjoy the resort’s private 700-foot stretch of Georgian Bay shoreline, plus delectable organic cuisine. (Want to go farther? Check out these 10 eco-resorts that take environmentalism to luxurious new heights.)


A donation

Perhaps the best Valentine’s gift of all is one that gives back. Give your sweetheart something that will last much longer than disposable flowers or a box of chocolates: a charitable donation. Check out WaterCan’s Gifts of Water for some great ideas. Just $25 gives clean water for a child; $100 gives clean water for an entire family. Ready to make a truly grand gesture of love? For $1,100, you can give water to a whole village.