The Environmental Protection Agency is offering Americans "Tips for February Fun," encouraging them to think outside the flower box on Valentine's Day.
On one of the busiest days of the year for florists, the EPA says Americans should consider buying long-lasting silk flowers, potted plants, or live bushes, shrubs, or trees that can be planted in the spring.
And instead of visiting the card shop, consider sending electronic valentines -- or recycled cards, the EPA suggests.
“This Valentine's Day, show your love for the earth by sending recycled-content greeting cards. Consider making new cards from scrap paper or by attaching new backs to the fronts of old cards -- this can be a craft project for family and friends that helps everyone reduce paper waste while saving money!"
You can skip the candy store, too: "Bake cookies or other goodies for your valentine and package them in reusable and/or recyclable containers as gifts." The EPA says home-made treats "show how how much you care and help you avoid packaging waste."
The EPA's suggestions for "February fun" include thinking "green" on President's Day by taking reusable bags on shopping trips and buying clothes that are made from recycled soda bottles, sneakers made with recycled rubber soles, or clothes made from recycled cotton scraps.
Athletes who enjoy winter sports should buy used equipment or equipment made from recycled materials: "Examples include hiking shoes with recycled rubber soles, basketballs made with recycled rubber, and ski jackets and sleeping bags made from recycled soda bottles."
The EPA even includes party tips on its website:
“If you are hosting a basketball party, buy drinks and snacks in bulk to prevent packaging waste, and encourage guests to recycle their empty aluminum cans and glass or plastic bottles,” the website says. “Also reuse decorations, or rent some from a party store.”