Traditionally, February 14th has been a day to celebrate love. But Valentine's Day seems to have evolved into another excuse for consumerism, with negative impacts for the environment.

So without ruining all the fun, how can we have a more sustainable Valentine's Day?


Many flowers are grown out of season in energy-intense greenhouses and imported to the UK. And often the workers are not paid a fair wage. Also, did you know most florists increase their prices, especially roses, by approximately 30% during the week leading up to Valentine’s day!

Instead, could you buy a potted plant, Fairtrade or seasonal flowers, or even plant a tree?


Did you know £112m was spent on jewellery on Valentine’s Day last year, and unfortunately jewellery is often made in poor conditions by poorly paid workers.

Do you fancy buying something unique, full of history and with a saving of about 30%? Well why not buy second hand? We're really interested in the second hand economy in Leeds.  It's a huge market, benefits charities and local businesses, saves us money - and buying second hand is one of the kindest things we can do for our environment.

If you do decide to buy new, make sure to look for brands made with fairtrade gold, this ensures goods are made in decent working conditions with fairer prices paid to the workers, and avoids exploitation.

This year, why not buy secondhand jewellery or ensure to buy fairtrade gold.


A lot of waste is created on Valentine's Day from unwanted gifts. Instead of buying new for Valentine’s Day, why not buy second hand, remember it’s the thought that counts not the amount you’ve spent. We've put together a list of some of the ebay stores run by charity shops that our followers have shared with us.

Or, why not surprise your loved ones with a homemade gift - maybe a promise jar, shower and bath set, edible valentines goodies such as biscuits, cupcakes, fudge or truffles, a treat bag or even an Oragami bouquet!

Good Housekeeping have some great homemade gift ideas - check it out.

This year, why not get more creative with gift ideas. Could you buy less, give experiences, upcycle, buy secondhand, make gifts or buy local/ethical gifts?


Ingredients for chocolate are often produced by workers who are not paid fair wages and the ingredients are not grown organically. Cheaper chocolate is often made with unsustainable palm oil, which contributes to deforestation.

According to Ethical Consumer Magazine we need to be looking for brands whose cocoa is certified by Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade.  The chocolate should also be connected to the farmers so the company could be part-owned by them or at least working closely with them.  Also, if the company makes its chocolate in the country where the cocoa is produced that really helps tackle poverty.

Many of our refill and zero waste shops in Leeds have given serious consideration to the chocolate they stock so if you want to buy local, they would be good to try. And we also have our very own award winning master chocolatiers in Leeds Lauden Chocolate.

Could you buy Fairtrade, organic chocolates this year and avoid products with unsustainably sourced palm oil?


Around 8.7 million Valentine’s cards are bought a year in the UK alone, which has a huge environmental impact.

This year, could you make your own card out of recycled materials or even send an e-card?


Find some more ideas and top tips for having a #ZeroWasteValentines below: