Show the planet some love: plastic-free swaps for Valentine’s Day

Viki Karp

Demonstrate how much you care this Valentine’s Day by shunning the mountain of tacky plastic tat that fills the shops, and choosing an eco-friendly gift instead.

Read on for plastic-free swaps that prove it’s the Earth you love the most on February 14th.

Green gifts

We are bombarded by the colour red on Valentine’s Day but in order to find to ways to reduce plastic we should be thinking green instead.

Flourish your flowers

Flowers are the obvious Valentine’s Day present but often come wrapped in cellophane. Those enclosed in paper are better but how about giving a bunch in something even more environmentally-friendly? When you visit the florist, take A Bee Green Wrap with you and ask them to put your stems in that instead. The recipient then gets to enjoy the blooms and the wraps can be reused over and over again.

(Camellias, snowdrops, witch hazel and early flowering daffodils blossom in February, so if you have these in your garden you can be even more sustainable and make up your own bouquet.)

Soap yourself silly

With no plastic wrapping and no nasties inside, these heart-shaped, home-made vegan shampoo bars are a fabulously eco-conscious way to celebrate your love. Whether you give sandalwood, lavender or tutti frutti (a blend of sweet orange, blueberry, grapefruit and apple) it’s guaranteed that special someone will smell amazing on your next date!

Food flirtation

The quickest way to anybody’s heart is through their stomach but rather than heading to the supermarket for a ready meal, try a delicious plastic-free feast instead.

Zero-waste chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? There are few occasions when chocolate doesn’t go down well as a gift but it’s especially popular on Valentine’s Day. Many boxes are covered in cellophane, but there are brands that go for a cardboard-only approach, so seek one out and then make sure the wrapping gets recycled. Or, if you have a zero-waste shop nearby that sells chocolate, decorate and fill up your own container for plastic-free cocoa indulgence.

Start the day with love

There’s nothing like getting Valentine’s Day off to a good start, and you don’t need to stay in a fancy hotel to have a romantic breakfast. Simply arm yourself with a cookie cutter and conjure up a loved-up brekkie treat of heart-shaped toast or pancakes. And if you really want to make your point, buy a heat-resistant cutter and fry up some heart-shaped eggs as well!

Bake your way to passion

Nobody will object if you serve up a slice of supermarket cake with a cuppa, but you’re more likely to stimulate somebody’s senses if you invite them over when there’s a sweet smell emanating from the oven. Get your apron on and make your own cakes and biscuits: not only will you seduce your beloved with the taste, you can also decorate your baked goods with some loving - or cheeky – iced-on words so they absolutely get your message!

Thrifty but thoughtful

The retail commercialism that drives Valentine’s Day means that a lot of items come with a high price tag. If you don’t want to fork out a fortune to show someone you care you can still make the 14th special, with some low-price but personal plastic-free swaps.

Craft your own card

Shop-bought Valentine’s cards can be expensive, and many of them are wrapped in plastic, as well as coming with nausea-inducing lovey-dovey wording inside. It will mean far more to the receiver if you make your own and all it will cost you is a little of your time. You can repurpose card you already have (e.g. from a cereal box or similar) by covering it with heart shapes cut out from unwanted fabric and adding your own adoring love-note.

Concoct your own cologne

The perfect perfume on a soulmate can send you into a starry-eyed spin. But while love can be intoxicating, it shouldn’t be toxic…which is exactly what some shop-bought chemical-ridden aromas are. Creating your own scent out of base oil and a personalised mix of essential oils is a whole lot healthier, much cheaper and will be completely unique, too.

Say it with songs

At one point in time there was nothing that said ‘I love you’ more than buying a TDK 90 (remember those?) and spending hours putting together a mixtape of your favourite tunes for the person you wanted to impress. Nowadays, technology makes it a whole lot easier: for a free, but big-hearted, Valentine’s Day gift why not create an intimate Spotify playlist, full of tracks that make your feelings clear?

Don’t forget to love yourself

Of course, not everybody will or, indeed wants to, spend Valentine’s Day with a significant other, but you can still show yourself some zero-plastic love on the 14th. Perhaps making yourself a card is going a bit too far but you can certainly make use of the ideas we’ve suggested here, or spoil yourself by taking your favourite tipple and a good book for a luxurious soak in the tub, accompanied by the splendid Kinn Bath & Body Oil Gift Pack.  

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Making plastic-free swaps is a simple way to reduce your plastic use. Our shop is full of

stylish, practical and eco-friendly products for you and your family.

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Tread lightly: why we need to reduce our plastic footprint

Viki Karp

It shouldn’t have escaped anybody’s notice that the Earth is rapidly filling up with things we’ve bought, used and discarded.  From toothbrushes and disposable coffee cups to bank cards and mobile phones, our daily lives are surrounded by, and covered with, plastic.

We urgently need to reduce our plastic waste, whether it’s through buying environmentally-friendly products, reusing as much as we can or disposing of un-recyclable items responsibly.

Keep reading to see why recycling plastic plays a crucial part in the planet’s recovery, what the different types are (and what they can be turned into) and some examples of what’s being done to turn unwanted plastic into something wonderful!

Why do we need to recycle plastic?

Horrifying footage from around the world has shown us the very real consequence of plastic finding its way into rivers and oceans, where it pollutes coastlines and endangers wildlife. It’s also full of hormone-disrupting and carcinogenic toxins that enter the food chain as it degrades.

Recycling helps to reduce plastic waste, and it also diminishes the demand for the creation of new plastic. Employing recycled, rather than raw, materials during the manufacturing process uses far less energy, positively impacting carbon emissions as well.

Not every plastic can be recycled, of course, which means a lot of it will end up in landfill. Here it will either get added to the mountain that’s already there or get incinerated. Both outcomes end in the release of harmful pollutants into our atmosphere, giving us a powerful incentive to stop purchasing it in the first place.

A brief guide to plastic recycling

There are seven basic types of plastic, some of which are easy to recycle and some of which pose more of a problem.

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

This material is used for nearly all plastic bottles and food punnets. It’s easy to recycle back into the same thing so anything made from PET should be washed, dried and put in your recycling bin.

  • High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE is used to make cartons, cleaning products and yoghurt pots and is easily recycled into more cartons, garden furniture and pipes. Into your recycling bin it goes!

  • Polypropylene (PP)

Another one for your recycling bin: margarine tubs and microwave meal trays are turned into clothing and carpet fibres and more food containers.

  • Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Food and shopping bags, and magazine wrappers are made of LDPE. It can be recycled into bin liners and floor tiles but it won’t generally be accepted in your bin. However, many supermarkets will accept it.

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC is used for windows and pipe fittings, thermal insulation and car parts. It’s tricky to recycle so councils won’t take it, but some specialist places can reuse it to make more PVC.

  • Polystyrene (PS)

PS is the go-to for takeaway boxes and plastic cutlery, as well as protective packaging and insulation. Councils don’t want it but there are some specialist places that will turn it into more packaging.

  • Other

This category includes plastic that is extremely difficult to recycle, such as composite. This is because it’s made up of more than one type and can’t be satisfactorily separated. Off to landfill it goes.

You can check which plastics your council accepts for recycling here.

The power of plastic positivity

There’s so much work still to be done to reduce the plastic footprint we’re stamping onto the planet that it often seems like an un-winnable battle. But taking a look at some amazing global initiatives should re-motivate us to continue the fight!

In July 2019 UNICEF announced their collaboration with Colombian social enterprise Conceptos Plasticos, taking plastic waste from Ivory Coast landfill sites and converting it into modular bricks. These are then used to build something the communities there desperately need: classrooms.

The brick production has three valuable outcomes: the construction of safe teaching spaces for children who currently can’t attend school; the reduction of the plastic waste that contributes to unhygienic and unsanitary living conditions in many areas of the country and income provision for the women living in poverty whom UNICEF are empowering to lead the scheme.

And then there’s Ecobricks: a project that ‘gives value to what was once value-less’, i.e. un-recyclable plastic. By filling bottles to a certain density with plastic that would otherwise be dumped, the Ecobrick community is creating thousands of solid blocks that can be constructed into walls, garden furniture, art installations and even buildings. Because the plastic is packed tightly inside the bottles Ecobricks also prevents its toxins from leaking into the eco-system.

Conscious consumerism

Reducing our plastic waste is a task that we all need to take on. While awe-inspiring ideas, like those above, strike important blows in the war against unwanted plastic, there’s a very simple concept we can all adopt that helps enormously too.

‘Conscious consumerism’ means understanding how what we’re buying impacts society. We need to ask questions every time we purchase plastic: do I really need this? Can I recycle it? What are the consequences if I can’t? Is there an eco-conscious alternative? Practicing mindful purchasing is key when considering how to care for the environment.

So, before you next grab a handful of plastic bags at the checkout, take a look at our fabulous Onya collection. Made from reconditioned PET plastics, Onya’s range of re-useable produce bags are almost all 100% recyclable themselves. You can also pick up one of their gorgeous stainless steel water bottles at the same time: say goodbye to one-use plastic!

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Onya Life

Viki Karp
If you are considering starting the new year with resolutions of being more eco-friendly, ONYA products are a great and stylish way of doing so. ONYA makes most of their products from recycled plastic bottles so they are also preventing more plastic from polluting our oceans.

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Huski Home

Viki Karp
Huski Home, a family run business in Kent creating great, sustainable products using Mother Nature's waste.

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Proud Mary Soaps

Viki Karp
Proud Mary Soaps, a Husband and Wife team from Hampshire doing their bit to make the world a better, cleaner and greener place, one soap at a time.

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