Plastic Free Cotgrave

Reducing single-use plastics


Valentine's Day


Valentine’s day spending was around £855 million in 2019. Pretty staggering – and that’s before we start thinking about plastic!


If you are looking for cards, gifts and flowers that are single-use plastic free (and therefore low on gimmicks and pressure to spend) here are some ideas (thanks to Lizzie Lambert for some of these great sustainable suggestions):



Everything we said at Christmas applies again here: avoid cards that use glitter and embellishments and those that come in a cellophane wrapper.


GET ARTY Make your loved one a homemade card with a personalised note. Everyone’s got a book in them so start penning your lines.


Think about saving your cards to use again next year! A bit radical perhaps but you will both have zero plastic Valentines Days for years to come.⁣



Hmm... have you ever thought how there are all those (expensive) red roses in the shops about now? Where they come from, worker conditions, how they are transported (usually flown) here and – almost inevitably – wrapped in plastic? If you search hard, you may find some home-grown flowers not wrapped in plastic, or consider a weekly or monthly posy subscription for future flowers – something that will last months rather than a week or two. Check out Flowers from The Farm – they have some gorgeous ideas with early spring flowers such as hellibores, snowdrops and early narcissi.


Find British Flowers for Valentine’s Day by searching for the following hashtags on social media:

  • #britishflowers
  • #makevalentinesgreen
  • #sustainablevalentines
  • #grownnotflown

Alternatively, maybe you could MAKE A DATE WITH NATURE Go for a long walk together somewhere you haven’t been before, take out a National Trust/Woodland Trust/Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust membership to explore some new places. Ordnance Survey membership will give you loads of walking routes near here.⁣



These are seriously bad news, especially the helium-filled ones that are more likely to escape into the environment causing death to both wild animals and to livestock. Balloons are made of latex (which takes a long time to break down) or Mylar (non-recyclable plastic) ‘foil’ balloons.


Instead, why not try bunting, paper chains, streamers, pompoms pinwheels or paper flowers? Lots of great ideas here.


FOOD OF LOVE Can you avoid the plastics such as found encasing supermarket ‘meal deals’? Instead, maybe you can use the money saved to cook something special together! Decide on something new and enjoy quality time preparing it. There’s loads of amazing chefs on social sharing easy, green recipes to inspire you... check out @melissahemsley, @maxlamanna, @jack_monroe, @ellypear



You could support Friends of the Earth AND give a really cool gift! Use your search engine to find loads of ideas in Pinterest, Etsy etc


Consider EXPERIENCES! If you want to be a little more indulgent then always opt for experiences to enjoy together:

  • Find a beekeeping course⁣
  • Do a pottery workshop⁣
  • Join a Plastic Free Cotgrave clean up together, when these start up (shameless plug... wahaaay!)⁣


While gigs and concerts are off the menu, why not set up a special PLAYLIST? Remember the old school mix tapes you made for the people you fancied? Do that, but using the modern day equivalent - a private Spotify playlist.


For more ideas: here is a link to a facebook group


Basically just don’t fall into the trap of feeling obligated to spend. That is literally the opposite of what love is about!


More information: Valentine's Day retail spending in the UK 2017-2020

Published by Statista Research Department, Jan 21, 2021

From fashion to luxury, food and leisure, Valentine’s Day has successfully found itself a pocket in the retail and service economy on a global scale. In the United Kingdom alone, Valentine’s Day spending was predicted to jump to 855 million British pounds by 2019, marking an increase of nearly 25 percent since 2017. In 2019, dining out was the leading gift category with the highest amount estimated to be spent on Valentine’s Day.


Men spend more than women

The spending craze Valentine’s Day triggers is arguably not as widespread as on other special occasions, such as Black Friday or Christmas shopping. However, it still invigorates the economy as well as raising budget considerations on an individual level. In the UK, of those who had a Valentine to share the day and gifts with, men planned to spend more on Valentine’s Day treats than women.