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It’s hard to believe, but Valentine’s Day is approaching soon! Holidays are prime shopping times for the public, but they also contribute to global waste and overconsumption. However, there are still many ways to gift sustainably! Don’t worry, this is not a list of complicated DIY’s (but if DIY’s are your thing, go crazy with it!). 

Ask Your Recipient What They Really Want

Although this ruins the surprise factor, giving someone a present that they actually want means that they won’t have to return it. Returning items by mail is a wasteful process, especially since most returned items are not restocked by the company and end up in the landfill. Trust me, the recipient will still love the gift!

Skip The Gag Gifts

Gag gifts are really fun to shop for and receive, however, after a while, the recipient will probably toss your gift in the trash! Unless you can find an eco-friendly gag gift – I don’t know, maybe something compostable or recycled? – I would avoid these. Remember, we’re trying to be less wasteful this year!

Be Mindful Of Your Gift Wrapping

Gift wrapping often involves non-recyclable plastics and other synthetic materials. Simple packaging like a brown paper package tied with some spare string can be equally as cute and easily recycled! When in doubt, try reusing materials in your own home or ditching packaging entirely.

 Look For Brands That Are Sustainable And Ethical

For someone who loves fashion, now is your time to introduce them to a sustainable brand! I recently gifted my boyfriend some Everlane sneakers, a brand that is very transparent about their ethics and materials, and he loved them! The best way to find sustainable brands is through the Good On You app, a database for earth-friendly brands.

None of these options seem up your alley? Treating someone to some takeout, a homemade treat, or even a drive-in movie are all covid-safe and less wasteful gift options!

Remember, making a gift yourself is always a cute, inexpensive, and eco-friendly way to show appreciation for someone! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Stephanie Gerson is a first-year student studying Art History at UC Santa Barbara. She is from Palo Alto, California and she is passionate about sustainability, fashion, fitness, and vegan cooking. In her spare time, Stephanie loves going on bike rides around campus, catching up with friends, or spending hours completing her latest embroidery piece!
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