Written by Millie Braund
Valentine’s Day has become a huge economic event; with people also celebrating the increasingly popular ‘Galentine’s Day’, more are more gifts are bought for our closest ones on this day of love.
Millions of pounds are spent in the UK alone on landfill gifts such as balloons, teddies, wrapping paper and laminated or glittery cards. This year, the majority are likely to be sent in the post, and so it’s a better time than ever to consider more sustainable gifts.
So, here are some inexpensive, eco-friendly ideas for those last-minute Valentine’s gifts (or save this for your next lockdown birthday!):
Rather than buying foil-wrapped, love-heart, boxed chocolates, why not show off those baking skills we all know you’ve been practicing over the lockdowns.
Whether it’s Jammie Dodger cupcakes, decorated brownies or your favourite cookie recipe, hand-made gifts are always appreciated as you put that extra bit of love and care into them!
Baking your gifts is an especially good idea for those special ones who live close to you, so you can drop them off yourself.
Plants or Flowers
Who doesn’t love getting flowers? More often than not, though, flowers come wrapped in plastic, or are grown and shipped from oversees, which increases carbon emissions.
Many retailers have started doing ‘letterbox’ plants, which are sent in recyclable cardboard boxes. From plantable flowers (with the bulbs still attached), to houseplants and even mini trees, these are a great idea for a gift that will last!
Looking out for locally-grown flowers and plants will also do the world a lot of good!
Underwear or Lingerie
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to buy your significant other some new underwear (or ones you want to see them in!) These are a perfect gift, as they are items we wear daily, and make good use of.
There are some great brands creating eco-friendly (and still attractive) underwear, specifically made from textiles such as hemp or organic/recycled cotton blends.
Spend Time Together
A lot of us, sadly, are having to spend Valentine’s/Galentine’s apart from each other this year. So, when we finally get back together, it will feel like such a gift!
Why not, instead of sending pricey presents, vow to spend time doing something special the next time you’re able to see each other. This could be as simple as going on a sunset walk by the beach, or going for a picnic. Or, you could even spend money on an experience to do together.
Spending time with your loved ones is truly a treasure I’m sure we will all appreciate more after these lockdowns!
Cooking or Cocktail Classes
Taking a virtual cooking or cocktail-making class can be a great way to use up the items you already have in the cupboard. Virtual classes are a great alternative for low emissions on shipped goods, no extra gifts wrapped in plastic, and it also means you can spend quality time together!
Even if you’re apart, you can virtually log on to the same ‘meeting’ and still have fun whilst learning new skills together.
Or, as above, book an in-person class for post-lockdown!
Ditch the Cards
Millions of cards are bought worldwide to celebrate the love on Valentine’s Day. These types of cards can be especially bad for the environment; not only do millions of trees have to be cut down to produce them, but many have plastic coatings, glitter, or reflective effects that cannot be recycled.
So, why not ditch the cards for Valentine’s Day? You could send them a thoughtful text message with all the things you love about them, instead. Some retailers sell e-cards, or you can make and send one yourself – a particularly good idea if you’ve left your card to the last minute!
If you’re desperate to send something physical, hand write them a letter (old-fashion style) or hand-make a card yourself! There are also eco-friendly options you can buy, with some retailers selling seed-paper or plastic-free cards, for example Wearth London.
The same also goes for wrapping paper. If you are able to, plain brown recycled paper is best for wrapping your pressies, and you can then add any decorations you like – whether it’s dried flowers, or pretty drawings, for example. Or, just skip the wrapping altogether!