A red and a green apple with a heart shape carving

Plastic-free valentine gifts

Have a heart this Valentine's Day – avoid adding to the plastic choking our oceans and sea life. Check out our plastic-free ideas for the most romantic gifts on the planet.
  09 Feb 2018    |      5 min

Don't worry, this isn't one of those his-and-her lists. That sort of thing belongs in the past – and so does single-use plastic.

Before reading on, please sign our petition to save our oceans from plastic pollution.

1. Seed paper hearts

You want your love to grow, right? Plant a seed in their heart by stuffing loads of them into a paper heart just for good measure. Who knows what might blossom from this touching gesture? Sprinkle some bee-friendly wildflower seeds – like the ones in our Bee Saver Kit – into your mixture (after blending)... And if all goes to pot, at least you'll be helping to re-establish habitats for Britain's bees and other pollinators.

2. The UK's most romantic Valentine's Day walks

A rainy overcast day at Tarn Hows in the heart of the Lake District.
Credit: Sagesolar/Flickr

Let nature work its magic. Take that special person on a romantic walk and impress them with your eye for beauty. The setting is everything when it comes to creating the right mood. Luckily the UK is full of breathtaking scenery for your jaw-dropping date. Our top picks for an unforgettable stroll include: Tarn Hows, Lake District (pictured); South West Coast Path, Cornwall; Moel Famau, North Wales; Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland; Little Venice, London.

3. Be crafty in a good way

A red apple with a love heart shape carved out of the skin

More and more people are describing themselves as sapiosexual – they're attracted to intelligence before appearance. Could your mind hold the key to their heart? No X-ray required. Look to your talents for creative inspiration. Can you write a poem, a piece of music or a song? Are you good with wood or metal? Perhaps painting or sketching is your forte? Can you sew without stitching yourself up?

4. Zero waste chocolate

Three individual truffles on a black reflective surface

Let's not sugarcoat it. How sweet can it be if it leaves an indelible mark on our oceans? I am of course referring to the plastic wrapping that many of our consumables come in. Hardly any of it gets recycled and it ends up in the natural environment. Find your Valentine's soft centre with a selection of artisanal chocolates. Take a container to your nearest chocolatier to avoid unnecessary packaging.

5. Send a custom playlist

A mixtape on top of scattered CDs
Credit: Hanul/Flickr

That's a mixtape to those of us over 35. But instead of plastic cassettes, you'll be using digital channels like Spotify, YouTube or Google Drive. Are you the perfect duet or are you destined to go solo? Strike a chord with your secret crush by pitching this just right. Here's some inspiration: I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor – Arctic Monkeys; My One Temptation – Mica Paris; Lover, Lover, Lover – Leonard Cohen.

6. Dedicate a song

Nick Grimshaw presenting his Radio 1 Breakfast Show on 24 Sept. 2012
Credit: James Cridland/Flickr

If you'd do anything for love except spending hours putting a playlist together – get a mention on your true love's favourite radio show instead. You can always send them a link to the broadcast to make sure they haven't missed it.

7. Make a statement

I love you written in the sand

190 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, according to the Greeting Card Association. How many of those end up in the bin? Don't forget the plastic wrapping. You don't do things in halves. When you say "I love you", it's big; it's bold; it's beachy. If you want your statement to outlive your emotions, how about planting a special tree?

8. Strictly come dancing

Two people dance together at the Latino Ethnic Awareness Association hosting a Salsa/Merengue/Bachata Dance
Credit: COD Newsroom/Flickr

A risky option to impress a prospective lover, but the rewards are potentially high. Every bend, spin and step will either be sending their pulse racing or clambering for the exit. A smarter move is to take them on a date to a group dance class. Gaze into each other's eyes as you're being safely walked through the steps.

9. Gift an experience

A woman practising yoga on a purple Liforme mat

Nothing smacks more of last-minute desperation than wilting supermarket roses wrapped in plastic. It's about as romantic as asking someone to write down their dreams, before apologetically sticking them through a shredder. Stem the tide of disappointment. Help them become better at what they enjoy doing by gifting them an experience – like a photography course or pilates classes. If your Valentine is a yoga enthusiast, and you're feeling generous, you could even buy one of Liforme's eco mats (pictured).

10. Homemade Valentine's Day gift ideas on Instagram

A heart-shaped hole in a hedge

If you're not yet feeling that magnetism towards our ideas, head over to Instagram.

Our followers are already making some super suggestions including:

  • @elginthwaites Slate heart necklace!
  • @sallyparker365 Simple baking nothing better xx
  • @lovebedgebury How about a heart made of pine cones?

Think you can do better?

Save our oceans

Before you go, please sign our petition to keep plastic out of our oceans.