If you are feeling like you are in a Valentine’s Day gifts idea rut, we’ve got some good, green suggestions for you. While some are simply more eco-friendly and sustainable versions of traditional Valentine’s presents, we’ve also rounded up a few other unexpected ideas, gifts that benefit others. Whether helping to fund solar energy projects in Chad, empowering women, or employing artisans around the world, these presents are made to last, and that is good for everyone.
1. Succulent garden
Long-lasting and harder for brown thumbs to kill, succulent plants make a lovely gift for homeowners and Lula’s Garden takes in-home and easy gardening to the next level with its Valentine’s Day collection. The SoCal-sourced succulents come in their own planter gift box and are pre-planted, eliminating packaging waste. Cali residents have even more options for a selection.
2. Lingerie with an eco ethos
Lingerie isn’t exactly a novel Valentine’s Day gift idea, but these aren’t your average bra and underwear offerings. Naja’s gorgeous lingerie is made using digital and sublimation printing, drastically reducing the amount of water used in the manufacturing process. They also include fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles and are experimenting with other eco-friendly fabrics and technologies. The majority of Naja’s garment factory employees are single moms or female heads of households; in addition to flexible work policies, above-market wages, and healthcare benefits, the children of every Naja garment worker receives books, school supplies, uniforms, and school meals paid by Naja. Naja is serious about empowering women, but the brand is happy to toe the line between playful and sophisticated with cheeky knickers printed with adorable animals as well as elegant nude lingerie options for a variety of skin shades.
3. Artisan gift box
Subscription gift boxes have exploded in recent years, and the monthly gifts from Globe In bring a socially conscious and artistic bent to the trend. Each themed “box” comes in a handwoven palm leaf basket filled with a variety of goodies. The Cozy Box, for example, includes a fair trade scarf from Thailand, a hand-painted Tunisian mug, and fair trade cocoa powder from Ghana. Whether you buy a one-off box or a monthly subscription, your gift is guaranteed to be a hit and to help artisans and makers around the world.
4. Hand-poured candles that help provide solar energy
Starling Project candles come in four fragrances ranging from sultry Juniper + Saffron to comforting Vanilla + Hemlock. Soy-based and hand-poured in Brooklyn, the candles come in handmade glass containers and last up to 60 hours. Starling candles help bring light to homes across the world: the company has donated over $100,000 to UNICEF solar energy projects in Chad.
5. Sustainable and sophisticated jewelry
Philadelphia-based jewelry brand Bario Neal is known for creating classic and cutting edge pieces that use ethically-sourced and recycled materials and for using low-impact environmentally conscious practices (which you can read about here ). Whether you go the custom route or grab a pair of modern diamond studs, the jewelry wizards at this proudly feminist company will create a piece that is traceable and responsible.
6. The gift of education
The quickest way to make a $58 gift last a whole year? Make a donation to the International Rescue Committee and sponsor a girl’s education for a school year. The IRC works around the globe to help people whose lives are affected by conflict and crisis and to improve communities through education, economic wellbeing, and health efforts. In 2015, the IRC helped educate more than 13,000 girls in Afghanistan alone!
7. Hand-crafted home goods made from reclaimed and repurposed materials
The husband and wife team that formed Peg and Awl have a gift for creating practical and durable heirlooms for both the home and people. Their ever-expanding line of handmade goods includes roomy waxed canvas weekender bags with vintage zippers, macabre recycled metal rings, and a tree swing. Every piece is crafted in an old casket factory, and many are reclaimed from materials that are over 100-years-old.
Image via Tamar Nahir Yanai’s Etsy page
8. A crafting kit
Give the gift of creativity…and perhaps a little peace and quiet. An embroidery kit is a perfect, easy entrée into the world of crafting; it’s also a balm for the soul during turbulent times. Whether you choose a kit with a wildflower theme, a mandala design, or something unexpected, getting your love’s hands moving in another way besides working their thumbs to a frenzy on their device is rejuvenating and restorative, not to mention fun. If you are gifting this to a mom or dad with young ones, be sure to include a “coupon” to watch his or her little ones so that crafting time is blissfully uninterrupted.
9. Recycled glass barware
Elevate your after-dinner drinks with recycled glassware from Bambeco. Pick your poison and sip it thoughtfully, perhaps from the five beer flight which includes a reclaimed wine barrel stave holder as well as five glasses made from recycled wine coolers. Or knock back a cold one in a recycled lager glass crafted in a factory that uses recycled cooking and engine oil to fuel the furnace and reuses gray water and collected rainwater in the production process.
Lead image via Lula’s Garden