Ask your partner what they want as a Valentine’s gift and they might unhelpfully say “nothing” – which is why Poundland is now selling a literally empty piece of heart-shaped plastic packaging emblazoned with the words “exactly what you asked for” as a joke.
But the laughs have backfired on Twitter and Facebook, where shoppers and environmental campaigners are slamming the retailer for promoting pointless single-use plastic that could hang around on the planet hundreds of years after it – and you – get dumped.
The campaign group A Plastic Planet tweeted a photo of the product and called it “everything that is wrong with the way we are treating our precious planet in one simple product”.
Surfers Against Sewage questioned whether Poundland has got the “plastic-free memo”. CEO Hugo Tagholm told HuffPost he considered it an “abuse” of planetary resources.
Another person tweeted Poundland to say it was “astonishing that in today’s highly emotive fight against throw away plastic and environmental protection such a large retailer could think this is ok. It is not. It is very disappointing.”
It is only a few months since Poundland last got into hot water over plastic use. In October it pulled a polystyrene carving pumpkin for Halloween from sale over a social media backlash.
Valentine’s Day is a romantic occasion for millions of people, but few are likely to keep their gifts (or even partners) forever. One keen-eyed shopper took to Twitter to question whether the same packaging with even more tat inside would be any better than “nothing”.
HuffPost UK has contacted Poundland for comment.