Does Amore Mean (a)more Stuff? - Written by Ben Appleby for The GRAB Trust

Updated: Jan 31

Each year, February the 14th brings forth a spend-a-geddon of consumerism in an attempt to woo, charm and show that special someone that we love them, or at the very least haven’t forgotten that we’re supposed to show them we love them. In a last minute panic, we pick up the chocolate and flowers while searching for a token of our affection, forgetting that just over a month ago we practically bankrupted ourselves at Christmas.

The UK spent just short of £1.5B on their 2019 Valentine’s celebrations with £772m of that total being spent on “things” eg. Cards, flowers and jewellery. Each gift intricately wrapped and packaged in often non-recyclable materials. Indeed, last year Poundland even sold heart shaped plastic packaging with nothing in it, labelled “The Gift of Nothing”.

So is this consumer frenzy worth it? Does our careless disregard for the planet’s resources and our bank balances bring us closer to our loved ones? Well…, frankly. While comical plastic tat may elicit a wee smile and maybe even a quick snog before heading out for your Valentine’s meal, reports have shown that 46.8% of us don’t even like the gifts we are given. Astounding figures considering Poundland’s heart-felt offering. We’re clearly an ungrateful and unromantic lot.

The results of the 2019 Great British Beach Clean have shown that on average we find 558 pieces of litter on every 100m stretch of UK beach, with plastic still being by far the worst offender. The solution to this problem is clear, we need to stop creating as much stuff to be wasted in the first place. Evidently, spending £1.5B a year on plastic love hearts is not the best way to achieve this.

So this year, why not reconsider buying that teddy bear for a fully grown adult? Give gifts that say, “I love you enough not to ruin our only home.” Instead of, “Look! I’ve got you the needless endangerment of a marine mammal!”

Why not cook your other half a meal, go to a concert,or go somewhere romantic? Create lasting memories with your loved ones before the incredible marine life we enjoy in Scotland is only that.

For more information follow the Beaches and Marine Litter Project on our Facebook page: