Poundland's 'gift of nothing' Valentine's Day present slammed for 'pointless' packaging waste

Called the "Gift of Nothing", the novelty present is a plastic heart-shaped package with nothing but air inside.

It costs £1 and comes with the taglines "exactly what you asked for" and "less is more".

But it has been slammed by shoppers and environmental groups for creating completely unnecessary plastic waste.

Friends of the Earth plastic-free campaigner Julian Kirby said: “This may be a joke, but it isn’t very funny for the wildlife that’s choking in a sea of plastic pollution.

“With the huge public outcry over plastic waste, hopefully the plug will soon be pulled on this pointless product.”

Poundland defended the item as "a bit of fun", but did not clarify whether it could be recycled.

"Our customers love it as do loads of others online," the discounter said in a statement.

"They all know it's a bit of fun and we understand that's still allowed in moderation."

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of anti-Plastic campaign group A Plastic Planet, said: "How can Poundland possibly think this is OK?

"This product is designed to go straight into the bin but will last for 500 years.

"It is a symbol of everything that is wrong with our view of the world.

"We are treating our beautiful planet like it is disposable when it is all we have."

Furious shoppers have been sharing pictures of the product and complaining about the waste

TV presenter Julia Bradbury tweeted "OMG just pointless plastic polluting packaging for literally nothing.

"Retailers have a duty these days to shop with a sensitivity towards the environment. These are dire times & @Poundland should lead by example, as a trusted retailer on the high street. #corporatesocialresponsibility"

Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, said: "This product, or should I say plastic packaging for nothing, is the nexus of manufacturer, retail and consumer stupidity.

"No-one ever asked for plastic pollution as a gift.

"As the movement to decouple our world from pointless plastic grows by the day, we need to stop this type of flagrant environmental vandalism."

Twitter user Steve Chapman added: "No Poundland this is NOT “just a bit of fun”. Tell that to the turtle in this picture. Start being part of the solution and not a contributor to the problem. #corporateresponsibility"

Green lifestyle blogger Lauren James said: "Oh FFS! @Poundland sort your heads out!"

And Craig Bennett said the marketing ploy was disgusting. "This is utterly disgusting

"Time for @Poundland to show a bit of real love for the planet, rather than offer empty love in polluting #plastic

"Proof that we can't rely on business to solve #plasticpollution voluntarily. Government needs to act."

"In a time when so many people are increasingly aware of the environment and are trying their best to use less single-use plastic, this is the ultimate in mindless consumerism and sheer waste," the 27-year-old writer said.

"It's a cheap laugh for 30 seconds that will ultimately end up in landfill for the next thousand years and it's irresponsible for a huge retailer like Poundland to sell such a product."

While most shoppers were horrified by the Valentine's Day stunt, some found the "Gift of Nothing" amusing.

"I think it was a PR WIN TBF, saw article on the BBC and want to buy it!" tweeted Stuart Dessler, along with a crying laughing emoji.

And Rockstar added: "This has been around for years, still one being re-gifted around my friends and family from years ago. Classic novelty joke."

While Ben Keymer pointed out that people are likely to keep the plastic as it is part of the gift rather than wasteful packaging.

"It isn't going to be opened so will it be thrown away? As it is a gift for a loved one, wouldn't they keep it?" he explained.

Shopper Sophie Davis saw the product in a Poundland in her hometown of Glasgow and said the gift is "irresponsible".

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