Valentine’s Day originates from the Christian Feast of Saint Valentine. (Image: Element5 Digital/Unsplash)
Some people hate Valentine’s Day, believing it to be a scam invented by companies wanting you to spend money.
Others love it with a burning passion, wanting to be showered with as much love and affection as they can get on February 14, even if they’re getting that love year-round.
Thus Valentine’s Day, like climate change, is clearly a contentious topic. If you are planning on celebrating love – in all its forms, be it romantic or platonic – next week, then there’s no better time to consider how your choices affect the planet.
The world has a problem with overconsumption and buying things we don’t need, so the best thing you could do is to not buy anything at all.
But, seeing as that might not go down so well with your partner or best friend, it is fortunate that there are ways of being eco-conscious when buying your Valentine’s Day gift.
Here are 10 sustainable gifts to get for the person you love (whomever they may be).
Jewellery is an age-old gift for Valentine’s Day. The best thing about jewellery, assuming your loved one is a jewellery lover, is there are so many options.
Whether it’s earrings, bracelets, rings, or necklaces, buying your jewellery from ethical and sustainable sources is perfect for the eco-conscious person in your life.
But, if you already have a candle in mind, make sure to check their eco-credentials and see whether you’re buying a paraffin-based candle or a soy one.
3. Make something out of leftover materials
Overconsumption is an issue. So, perhaps the best thing you could do this year for Valentine’s Day is to take things you already own and repurpose them into the perfect gift.
If you have old card-stock, colourful paper, and some glitter, making a card will be even more sentimental than just buying one – you can put those GCSE Art skills to good use.
Alternatively, if you are a knitter or creative in any way, take a look at what you have around the house and come up with some small gifts to make that really show the person you love how much effort you put in to it.
4. Zero-waste personal care products
Beauty and personal care products generate a massive amount of waste. Soaps and shampoos in particular are usually housed in plastic bottles, which either end up in landfill or in our oceans after use.
In fact, around 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles get thrown out every year.
For the hygiene-obsessed person in your life, helping to start their zero-waste journey with soaps and products that do not use plastic packaging is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
This isn’t meant to be taken literally, especially since the majority of us live in a housing crisis and do not have the physical space to do so.
Luckily, the National Trust offers people the chance to donate to its tree planting fund. It costs just £5 to plant one new tree sapling, so it’s not a costly gift but it is thoughtful.
As the National Trust website states, “Trees are one of our best natural defences against climate change”, so why not put your Valentine’s Day money to good use?
6. Recyclable cards
If you’re not a dab hand at creative projects but still want to get your bestie or partner a Valentine’s Day card, then making sure you’re buying recyclable cards or cards made out of recycled card-stock is a great way of being eco-conscious.
Additionally, Wearth London make recycled and eco-friendly greetings cards for all occasions and you can filter for products that are plastic free, made from sustainable or recycled materials, and made in the UK to ensure a low carbon footprint in delivery.
7. Gardening starter kits
Whether you buy a herb or garden kit from somewhere like Peace with the Wild or put together your own box of gardening supplies, this is a great present for someone wanting to paint their thumb green.
Kits from Peace with the Wild range from £7.50 to £50 so there’s a wide range available, depending on what you need.
Growing your own herbs and veg will be better for your carbon footprint than trekking it to Tesco for the same items that have high emissions attached to them, whether they come from the UK or abroad.
8. Bamboo sheets
If there’s one day you want fresh, clean sheets on your bed, Valentine’s Day is it – for most people.
As we learn more about the climate crisis, people are realising the effects of cotton farming on the planet and turning to ethical and sustainable sources such as sheets made from bamboo.
Bamboo sheets are known for being extremely soft, silky, and naturally hypoallergenic. Plus, you get the pleasure of knowing it’s not harming the planet as bamboo grows more quickly than cotton and each plant yields more too.
They don’t come cheap but they make a good gift – Panda London sells a bamboo bedding set for £110 while All Bamboo sells just one fitted sheet from £27.90.
This might be the thing to kick your side hustle into high gear – and when they’re all used up, you can give your pencils a new lease of life by planting them to grow into herbs, flowers, vegetables, and even spruce trees.
The pencils are made out of ethically-sourced wood and non-GMO seeds.
10. Low-emission getaways
A lot of couples choose to go on a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day – especially if you’re planning to propose.
This year, instead of booking that flight to the Maldives, choose somewhere local to you for a day or weekend trip.
Alternatively, if you are eager to travel, take a coach or a train to your destination instead of driving or flying to divide the total emissions among more people.
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