The environmental impact of Valentine’s Day is one that is severely overlooked. In the weeks approaching February 14th, around 360,000 tonnes of carbon is produced from flowers being imported and shipped. Millions of cards and gifts are made for Valentine’s every year, causing masses of waste and increasing the ever-growing rate of deforestation. This year, instead of contributing to this waste, take inspiration from these eco-friendly gifts that will put a smile on your loved one’s face without causing harm to the earth.
Reusable and refillable products are a great idea for someone who is passionate about keeping their environmental impact to a minimum, particularly if they’re a fan of hobbies that may ordinarily generate a lot of waste.
- Ethical cookware made of materials such as ceramic can be found online or, even better, handmade and local. Many pots and pans will contain toxic chemicals that can be released under high temperatures, but this can be simply avoided by choosing alternatives from ethical shops and markets. Cooking accessories such as reusable silicone cake liners or beeswax wraps can significantly decrease the amount of waste created by cooking and baking and could make a nice addition to a pretty ceramic cooking pot.
- For the makeup and skincare enthusiast, try finding some brands who sell products that can be sent back and refilled once they’re all gone, or maybe a small business who uses natural products and sustainable packaging. These can be paired with some reusable products to replace the most wasteful part of makeup and skincare: makeup wipes. Disposable wipes may be convenient but they are full of chemicals, rarely biodegradable, and a shocking 11 billion single-use wet wipes are going to landfills or ending up in the ocean every single year. Eco-friendly reusable cotton pads can replace these and save money, the planet, and your skin!
- Here is something for everyone. Whether they like to travel, play sports, or relax with friends, the S’wheat reusable water bottle will please anyone. S’wheat keeps a circular economy and environmental restoration at the forefront of our mission, which is why the S’wheat bottle is the world’s first reusable bottle made from plant-based materials, with each bottle funding the planting of a trackable native tree. These sustainable bottles are lightweight, durable, and naturally insulated, making it suitable for hot and cold drinks and ideal to take with you anywhere. Designed with practicality in mind, S’wheat’s reusable water bottles feature a dual opening to easily sip from the leakproof mouthpiece or quickly unscrew the lid for easy cleaning. For those who love an outdoor adventure, the strong carabiner can be clipped onto a rucksack or even clothing. These sustainable bottles weigh just 250 grams, so it won’t even weigh you down. Plastic and steel reusable water bottles have dominated the market, but consumers aren’t aware of just how energy intensive the manufacturing process is. Of course we all know that plastic water bottles do not biodegrade and can stick around for hundreds of years, but it’s not commonly known what the environmental impact of metal bottles can be. In comparison, just 5% of the energy used to produce a stainless steel reusable water bottle is used to manufacture a S’wheat water bottle!
Wellness products never go a miss for Valentine’s Day. Natural, handmade, organic products are generally a lot gentler without the usual added chemicals and preservatives and can make an even nicer gift than the usual store bought products.
- Soaps and body care which are natural and cruelty free always make for a lovely eco-friendly gift, and oftentimes come from small ethical businesses. Local handmade products ensure these products are made all natural and will most likely work far better than mass-produced products full of unnatural ingredients and chemicals.
- A selection of essential oils or natural plants and herbs is perfect for anyone who is just getting into using more natural products and is interested in sampling them to see what they like best. These can also be personalised to ones that you think they would like, or even research into the properties of essential oils and pick out something you think they would make the best use of.
There are loads of options out there for anyone who feels strongly about environmental restoration, including, but not exclusive to, donations on the recipient's behalf.
- Virtual gifts such as charitable donations on behalf of someone else can be a good option for those people who insist they don’t want anything. If you would prefer to include a physical gift, adopting an animal for someone with WWF also includes a welcome pack, regular updates, and an adoption certificate – plus an optional cuddly toy!
- Eco-friendly gift boxes allow you to pick out a nice selection of things for someone, and can be a monthly subscription box or just a one-off goodies bundle. This is a fantastic sustainable gift for someone who might have expressed an interest in reducing their environmental impact or would like to try a selection of different brands or products to test them out and see what they like. Other subscription options can be pretty much anything from skincare to snacks to magazines. Individuals interested in nature and environmental news may like a subscription to an ecological related magazine.
Home and decor
For a fan of art and interiors, wall art and furniture pieces from small or local businesses can be a thoughtful eco-friendly gift and show someone you truly know their style.
- There are so many unique upcycled and vintage home gifts that can be found online or in person, including anything from garden accessories like wine bottle bird feeders to refurbished coffee tables. In fact, these can even be DIY’d – get creative! Vintage and second hand items can be found in places like charity shops, which you can either gift as is or refurbish it yourself.
- Commissioned artwork can be personalised and made especially for your loved one, making a really sweet and personal sustainable gift. This also means supporting small businesses and individual artists as opposed to choosing something mass-printed with no meaning behind it. Commission an artist to create a piece of something that is near and dear to the recipient for a truly thoughtful Valentine’s gift.