Poundland's Valentine's Day offering of nothing, complete with heart-shaped packaging, is being called an unnecessary plastic waste of plastic, while the store is being accused of causing pointless pollution.
Called the Gift Of Nothing, the product is on sale for one pound and is accompanied by the taglines “exactly what you asked for” and “less is more”.
While some have found the novelty gift funny, environmental groups have labelled it “a symbol of everything that is wrong with our view of the world.”
Julian Kirby, lead campaigner on plastics at Friends Of The Earth, told the Press Association: “It’s almost a riddle in itself.
“Who would actually want this, and who would buy it?
“The rest of the world sees the need for only the most essential plastics, with a fast phase-out of all other wasteful plastics, so let’s hope folly like this goes unloved and doesn’t re-appear.”
Poundland defended the product as “a bit of fun”, but did not clarify whether it could be recycled.
“Our customers love it as do loads of others online,” Poundland 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.”
Many shopppers shared pictures of the product with complaints about its use of plastic.
“OMG just pointless plastic polluting packaging for literally nothing,” tweeted former Countryfile TV presenter Julia Bradbury.
However many others found the product amusing.
“To all the ladies out there please don’t tell your other halfs you want nothing for Valentine’s Day cos courtesy of Poundland this might just be what you get,” tweeted Kim Patterson, accompanied by five laughing emojis.
Twitter use @lottyburns wrote: “The 2019 award for ‘trying your luck’ goes to @Poundland, for its ‘nothing’ Valentine’s present that still costs a quid!”
Shopper Sophie Davis saw the product in a Poundland in her hometown of Glasgow and said the gift is “irresponsible”.
“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 told the Press Association.
“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.”