Few people would protest with the suggestion that a person should love his or her mother.  So why not show love for mother earth while you’re treating your valentine this year?

In this post, we’ll look at the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts and break down which are best for the planet in terms of their virtual water content.   Can’t decide whether to give chocolate or jewelry?  Maybe we can help you out!

We’ve already discussed chocolate and candy in this blog, but here’s some numbers for those who don’t want to click through: chocolate needs 24,000 liters of water per kilogram of chocolate.  For a twelve ounce chocolate sampler, you’re looking at 8,100 liters of water.  Candy varies depending on what kind of candy you’re buying, and while chocolate looks like the go-to candy gift,  the primary ingredients in those little candy hearts are sugar and corn syrup.  Assuming those are each roughly 50% of the candy’s weight, you’re looking at something like 1,000 liters of water per one-pound bag of candy hearts.

After candy, flowers are the second most-popular Valentines day gift.  A single rose has a virtual water footprint of 10 liters, which jumps all the way up to 120 for a dozen roses.   That’s not bad, but of course the down side of buying roses is that you have to kill the flowers to give them in a traditional bouquet.

Stuffed animals are the third most common Valentines Day gift.  Cotton is a common stuffer, so assuming you’re buying your sweetheart a typical two pound teddy bear, ( and working with the metric that a T-shirt weighs about half a kilogram, so 2 T-shirts=1 bear), you’re looking at 5,400 liters in your stuffed animal.  

We all want to spoil our sweethearts, but that doesn’t mean we need to spoil our planet while we’re at it.  This year, get creative for Valentine’s Day and find a water-conscious personal gift your Valentine will love.  Share your ideas in the comments!

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