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Made with Love: Upcycled Valentine's Gifts

For hundreds of years, people have celebrated February 14th in the name of love by sending cards, chocolates, flowers and more. Each year, Americans spend more and more on elaborate gifts, which hurts not only our wallets, but our environment too.

SMART Member USAgain's Ecofriendly Love Infographic illustrates just how much Americans will spend on this year's event, according to the National Retail Federation.

Click on image to view full size.

The National Retail Federation estimates $1.1 billion will be spent on purchasing cards—that's an incredible amount of paper waste. $2 billion will be spent on apparel, which already contributes to a significant percentage of overall waste and is an underutilized recyclable. Even more, just think of all those stuffed animals that will likely find themselves forgotten over the years.

Caught in our daily routine, we sometimes forget the impact our buyer behavior has on the waste stream and the environment. And, while the saying, "It's the thought that counts," might sound cliché to some, a homemade gift still goes a long way—for your loved one and our precious resources. So how can YOU change this? Make your own Valentine at home using scraps. Unwanted clothing and scrap fabrics can be turned into an envelope, stuffed animal, pillow, heart—the ideas are endless. If you don't decide the make your own gift, consider spending on an experience rather than a trinket, or keep in mind that paper, clothing and event stuffed animals can be recycled instead of thrown away.

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. Infographic: USAgain,
  2. National Retail Federation

Read more about Valentine's Day spending here