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7 ethical alternatives to classic Valentine’s Day gifts

Fast Company’s top picks of sustainable twists on classic gifts.

7 ethical alternatives to classic Valentine’s Day gifts
[Photo: fotohunter/iStock; Vrai; Bearaby; DedCool]

Valentine’s Day may be a well-marketed Hallmark holiday, but it’s also a great excuse to simply let someone special know that you care. If you’re one of those romantics willing to defy the cynics and invest in gift, why not take it up a notch and make it more ethical? To give you a hand, we did some digging and rounded up the best gender-neutral, responsible alternatives to classic Valentine’s Day presents. And you don’t even need to thank us with a heart-shaped box of chocolates.

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[Photo: courtesy of Vrai]
Vrai jewelry
Vrai is changing how we think about fine jewelry with its lab-grown diamonds and handmade designs. With traditional diamond mining responsible for some of Africa’s bloodiest civil conflicts, Diamond Foundry uses a plasma reactor to produce diamonds in a U.S.-based lab. No mines needed. Diamond Foundry acquired Vrai & Oro in 2016, and ever since, the brand has been designing high-quality jewelry made with its lab-grown diamonds. Our favorite pieces in the current line include the classic (and totally fresh-looking) Cuban Link Chain (starting at $295) and the beefy-yet-elegant Marquise Signet Ring ($1,700).

[Photo: courtesy of DedCool]
DedCool fragrances
If you aren’t familiar with DedCool, L.A.’s cool-kid brand of fragrances, then welcome to your latest obsession. All of the brand’s fragrances are unisex—but smell as complex and sophisticated as custom fragrances, and they’re all 100% vegan, nontoxic, and phalate-, paraben-, and carcinogen-free. Plus, they’re created, distilled, refrigerated, filled, packed, and shipped from DedCool’s facility in L.A., giving them a smaller carbon footprint than most traditional perfumes. Try the Red (Dakota) scent ($85), which blends a floral gardenia with muskier base notes of amber and wood, or Fragrance 01 “Taunt”  ($85), which blends amber and vanilla with a pop of cassis. As one reviewer wrote of the fragrance: “I am complimented EVERY SINGLE DAY and even during moments where I feel like it has faded.”

[Photo: courtesy of Bearaby]
Bearaby
Whether you’re sleeping solo (hello, starfish!) or you share the bed, there is arguably no better addition to your horizontal throne than a weighted blanket, which can help decrease anxiety and increase serotonin. Plus, it’s just a cozy-as-hell thing to own and enjoy on nights spent in. Bearaby makes one of the only sustainably aligned weighted blankets we’ve been able to find. The Sleeper comforter ($269) is made from eucalyptus fibers, and The Napper blanket ($259) is made from responsibly farmed organic cotton.

[Photo: courtesy of Coyuchi]
Coyuchi Unisex Mediterranean Organic Robe
Fast Company Recommender favorite brand Coyuchi knows a thing or two about sustainability and simple, attractive design. The brand’s business model and commitment to organic, regenerative, and circular materials are impressive, as is the comfiness of the company’s Mediterranean Organic Robe ($148). Grown and woven in the Aegean region of Turkey, this robe’s design is inspired by the peshtemals used in Turkish hammams.  But even if you’re not visiting a hammam or spa anytime soon, we find that it’s perfect for cozy, slow mornings spent in or getting ready for a big night out.

[Photo: courtesy of Parachute]
Parachute Mattress
How about the gift of better sleep? Sure, Parachute’s 100% organic cotton mattress ($1,899 for a queen), which is layered with pure New Zealand wool and tempered steel, is not as affordable as Casper’s (really quite good) mattress in a box. But the luxury mattress is made to be firm in the middle and slightly softer at the head and fee, where you want a little more give. Plus, the company will send a team of movers to set it up right in your room—and remove your old mattress, if you wish. Which means you can get to bed more quickly on Valentine’s Day.

[Photo: courtesy of Coyuchi]
Coyuchi Sheets
There are a lot of companies out there selling organic cotton linens. Coyuchi takes it a step further with its circular-economy Coyuchi For Life subscription services, which let subscribers save 15% off the overall price of items such as towels, sheets, pillows, and even duvets and get new ones every 6, 12, or 24 months depending on the subscription level. Users send the old items back to Coyuchi to be renewed or recycled by the company. That means you can get a Queen-sized set of the deliciously soft, ultra-stylish Organic Relaxed Linen Sheets for as little as $20 a month, and receive a replacement in two years. Or you can buy the set outright and let the fabrics grow even softer with age for many years to come.

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[Photo: courtesy of Bouqs]
Bouqs flowers
Bouquets from Bouqs somehow last longer. We think it has something to do with the fact that the company partners directly with eco-friendly farms practice minimizing waste, recycling water, and using sustainable growing methods. That means transparent sourcing and a shorter wait time for stunning hydrangeas or all-white roses (starting at $49) to travel from the farm to your hands. Bouqs also offers gift sets (starting at $59) and live plants (starting at $49). Order now to make the Valentine’s Day delivery deadline!

Looking for more on Valentine’s Day recommendations? We asked sex-toy pioneer Alexandra Fine, founder of Dame Products, for her advice on getting the most out of the day. 

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