Have an Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day!

Herban Lifestyle Bath Bonbons made with Fair Trade Cocoa Butter

This post was written by Katie Peige, Herban Lifestyle’s Sustainability Associate

This Valentine’s Day, you can show your love for the people in your life and your planet with eco-friendly gifts and experiences. Herban Lifestyle offers a range of bath and body products that are made with natural, organic, and fair trade ingredients, which you already know from reading this blog. But what about some other Valentine’s Day treats and traditions? Here are some ideas for gifts that are kind to you, your loved ones, and the planet:

• For cards, go paperless with e-cards or get crafty and re-make some cards out of old cards or magazines. Another fun option is to send a grow-a-note card that has seeds embedded in the paper so you can send a card and flowers all in one! Greenfield Paper Company offers a huge selection, as do several Etsy sellers, including girl*in*gear studio, who has some gorgeous plantable Valentine cards. Petco also carries them as does Capitol Hemp, and My Organic Market.

image copyright girl*in*gear studio

• Flowers travel long distances to get to us, often from South America requiring a lot of fuel. Together with the pesticides needed to grow them, cut flowers can have a very large carbon footprint. This Valentine’s Day opt for a potted plant or an organic, local bouquet of flowers. Check out the very sustainable Green Space for bouquets and plants.

image copyright Divine Chocolate

• Show your love for the world and your gift recipients by going with organic and fair trade chocolate this Valentine’s Day. There are many brands with exquisite products, like Divine Chocolate. Mmmm, it’s orgasmic! Remember to look for organic and local wines while you are at it!

Herban Lifestyle Fuzzy Valentine Soap

• Save water, bathe together! And bring some of our earth-friendly bath products to add some sassy fun to the experience.

• For date ideas, check out the Eat Well Guide to find local and sustainable restaurants in your area or head to the local museums and parks via the Metro system.

• Plan a staycation in the DC area, its all the fun of a vacation only locally and definitely screams green both for the environment and your wallet! Plus, there are many wonderful Smithsonian museums with free admission, all of which are Metro accessible.

image copyright Smithsonian Museum of American Art

• If you do decide to travel, check into a green hotel that seeks to reduce their water use and have a low impact on the environment. You can search for green hotels using the “Green” Hotels Association webpage.

• Give cco lingerie: feel sassy and sexy in organic cotton, organic hemp, organic silk, recycled fibers, or Lenpur, a material made from white pine tree clippings. It’s the gift that satisfies you and your partner and is available for men and women. Check out Treehugger’s guide to sustainable lingerie here.

image copyright EarthSake

• Sleep on organic cotton or bamboo sheets. You’ll sleep soundly knowing that your soft as silk sheets have a lower impact on the Planet.

• If this turns out to be one of the most important Valentine’s Day ever, spare yourself from conflict by purchasing responsibly sourced diamonds and fair trade metals. Or go vintage: A family heirloom or beautiful antique ring makes a very romantic statement.

And, of course, check out the Herban Lifestyle website for our fun Valentine gift sets that will really get you in the mood!


The Beauty of Organic Cotton


Organic herbal dream pillows are one of the handcrafted products I offer through my online store. They are filled with blends of organic herbs and spices, which are designed to encourage restful, happy sleep. A friend who specializes in fabric crafts has commented on a couple of occasions that she doesn’t use organic fabrics because they are so expensive. Granted, these fabrics cost more than other types of cotton, but I feel strongly in making products that are good for people and for the environment. To help encourage the use of organic products by consumers, I price my pillows comparably to other non-organic ones.

I recently came across an article on the production of conventional cotton, and it reinforced my conviction to use only organic cotton in my products. The following article is reprinted with permission from the Blue Ridge Eco Shop blog:

Although cotton is marketed as clean, fresh and natural, conventional cotton is anything but. 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides in the US are used to grow cotton. It takes 1/3 pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce (1) cotton t-shirt.

Cotton Farms aren’t just using any pesticides. Cotton growers typically use many of the most hazardous pesticides on the market including aldicarb, phorate, methamidophos and endosulfan. These are broad spectrum organo-phosphates–pesticides originally developed as toxic nerve agents during World War II. Many of these pesticides are endocrine disruptor’s and are creeping into our systems.

What does this mean to us?

Water Contamination – Cotton pesticides are contaminating our groundwater and surface waters which lead to our drinking water. Pesticides can be washed into streams and rivers where they contaminate aquatic ecosystems and kill fish.

Beneficial Insect Destruction – Pesticides kill beneficial insects as well as pests. Pesticides are suspected to be responsible for the severe drop in honeybees, the increase in frogs with extra legs and eyes, and the annual death of 67 million birds.

Farm worker poisoning – Pesticides used on cotton poison farm workers worldwide–causing acute poisoning and chronic illnesses. In California, cotton was ranked the third highest crop for pesticide-related worker illnesses.

Insect Resistance – Cotton pests are become resistant to pesticides. Insect resistance costs US cotton growers up to $1.4 billion per year and has caused a 30% drop in cotton yields in recent years.

Food Residues – Cotton pesticides can enter the human food chain through cotton seed oil used in processed foods and through meat and dairy products from cows fed on cotton seed meal.

What Can I Do?

Buy Organic. There are a lot of alternatives to conventional cotton. Organic fabrics these days are plentiful. The Blue Ridge Eco Shop sells organic cotton, soy, bamboo, hemp, a variety of organic fabrics. Buying used clothing is a great inexpensive alternative as well. This decreases the demand for convention new cotton clothing.