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.
  Published:  02 Feb 2018    |      Last updated:  12 Feb 2019    |      3 minute read

Roses are red, violets are blue, our love is eternal, but plastic is too.

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. It’s time to end our love affair with unnecessary plastic. And we're going to show you how.

But first, 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 your Valentine's 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 your efforts just go to pot - so to speak - 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

You don’t need to be a genius to be creative. Can you bake a cake or cook your Valentine's favourite meal? Can you make them a beautiful Valentine’s card? Or write a poem, a piece of music or a song? Maybe you’re good with wood or metal. Painting or sketching. Can you sew without stitching yourself up? Whatever you can create, the chances are it will be more appreciated than something bought from a shop.

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? We are 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. Strike a chord with your dearest love or 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? Not to mention the plastic wrapping. Don't do things by halves - when you say "I LOVE YOU" in the sand, 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 go dancing

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

Doing a dance to impress a prospective lover is a risky option, but the rewards for getting it right are potentially high. Every bend, spin and step will either be sending their pulse racing - or them 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. That'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 them 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 that excited by our ideas, head over to Instagram.

Our followers have made 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?

Let's get drastic on plastic

Before you go, please sign our petition for urgent government action to stop the flow of plastic pollution into our environment.