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bunny valentines

6 Sustainable Gift Ideas For Valentine's Day

Posted in Recycling
On 09 Feb 2021
By Jessica Keynes

Valentine's Day (14th February) is all about showing the people you love the most how much they mean to you. This year more than ever, people want to show their appreciation towards one another during these challenging times.

COVID-19 isn't the only issue on people's minds, excess packaging from online shopping, littering of PPE, and the use of single-use items contributing to the climate crisis are all hot topics at the moment. We must do what we can to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste.

However, if you feel someone deserves more than a Zoom call this Valentine's Day, we've put together a list of sustainable gift ideas that follow the reduce, reuse and recycle hierarchy.

bunny valentines day

Plants instead of balloons

Balloons might seem like a fun alternative to the traditional bunch of flowers, but balloons aren't recyclable, and if they escape into the environment as litter, then they also pose an extreme threat to wildlife.

Flowers are compostable and can be disposed of within your garden waste bin or a home compost (if you have one). To reduce even more waste, a shrub or plant that still has roots can be enjoyed repeatedly for many years. Either in the home as a home/office plant or over the winter months and then planted in the garden in spring to grow – or you can continue to enjoy them indoors as a potted plant.

If you're a seasoned gardener, you can reduce the use of packaging even further. Take a clipping from an established plant in your own garden and share it with your loved one.

plants gift idea

Homemade goodies over store-bought

If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that Forrest Gump was right - "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get." 

The good thing with homemade biscuits or chocolates is that you know exactly what goes into them—a perfect gift for anyone who has allergies or an obscure choice of flavours. Cheesy chocolate??

When it comes to wrapping your homemade creation, consider a reusable material like beeswax paper or a piece of cotton. A cardboard box (that isn't lined with plastic) or even some plain paper with some hand-drawn doodles can be recycled, and the content enjoyed.

homemade cookies

Adopt a bear rather than buying a stuffed one

Would it even be Valentine's Day without a soft toy making an appearance? A more eco-friendly option would be to sponsor a wild animal or support a sanctuary.

polar bear

Dinner and a movie (at home)

We definitely won't be going out for dinner and a movie this year, but that doesn't mean the silver screen can't come to you. There are a lot of online streaming platforms to watch or rent the latest blockbuster. Or dig out that old DVD player… or VHS player, and have a retro-themed evening. Play your old favourite films, support your local restaurants with a takeaway or show off your culinary skills.

retro popcorn

Recycled jewellery rather than mined

The carbon footprint of the jewellery industry, when compared to power generation, agriculture and transport is relatively small. However, it still has an impact on the environment through mining, minerals processing and manufacturing.

Buying jewellery from a business that uses precious recycled metals can make a huge difference, even for something as small as a necklace.

A necklace made from mined gold would produce approximately 109kgs of emissions compared to a necklace made from recycled gold which would produce 0.54kgs of emissions. Put simply – you'd have to recycle about 476 drinks cans to offset the carbon emission produced by buying a mined gold necklace. Both necklaces are made from the precious metal gold, the difference is one produces about 200 times more Co2 emissions.

Beauty that’s more than skin deep

Many well-known brands are becoming more aware of the impact of single-use packaging. Bottles, including perfume bottles, can be recycled with your council collection bins but they can also be reused to make room diffusers or mini vases.

Reduce waste by reusing an empty container and fill it with homemade beauty products – lip scrubs and facemasks are easier to make than you think!

If making your own beauty products seems a little daunting, you can still lower the impact by opting for containers which can be reused or recycled. For example, a bar of soap wrapped in a cotton wrap can be used again or recycled if covered in paper. Plastic or glass bottles can also be recycled – or double up on goodness and find a retailer which offers refills on returned containers.

natural beauty products

Share your sustainable or recycled gift ideas and tag @Biffa on Twitter. Happy Valentine's Day!