Black Friday always falls on the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States. However, many more nations worldwide now celebrate this annual shopping holiday that's notorious for slashing prices. This year, Black Friday falls on November 26th. So it's time for our inboxes to flood with promotional emails and for shoppers to gear up with their Christmas lists.
(Interesting fact: the name Black Friday is associated with a financial crisis that happened in 1869.)
Black Friday has a violent history of aggression and destruction, particularly in the USA. People have been known to get into altercations, and shops can become dangerously overcrowded. So it's no secret that staying at home and shopping online is the safest and most relaxed way to spend the day.
The holiday is also a time for frantic overbuying, impulse purchases, and chaos. The temptation to buy what we don't need is too much, leading to increases in manufacturing, transport, and waste. In 2020, Money.co.uk predicted that British Black Friday home deliveries would be responsible for 429,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (the equivalent of 435 return flights from London to New York).
However, we have an opportunity, as consumers, to make a change. It's high time that Black Friday got a little bit more green, and there are many ways we can achieve that. Long live, Green Friday!
Be on the lookout for brands that care about their environmental impact. Whether it's food products that favour plant-based and organic ingredients, or energy-efficient tech, there is a brand that's offering what you're looking for on Black Friday. If you're having trouble working out whether a brand is genuinely sustainable, check out the values and efforts listed on their website. Greenwashing brands are often vague about their sustainability efforts, whereas ethical brands outline everything they're doing to be better. For example, The Vegan Kind will be planting two trees for every order on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. They also use a carbon-neutral courier, have food waste facilities, and more, so if you’re looking to do some sustainable shopping on Black Friday, The Vegan Kind is just the place!
If you're heading out to the shops on Black Friday, make sure to bring a bunch of reusable bags, so you don't have to buy any plastic bags.
Reduced prices are incredibly tempting, so much so that they can make us think we need things that we don't, like fast fashion! You can use Black Friday as a chance to stock up on essentials such as food and household products that will always come in handy. Be sure to keep vigilant this Black Friday, and don't buy into impulse buying!
If you're going on a shopping spree, buy something that will help you on your journey to being more sustainable, for example, reusable items.
Prevent adding to the traffic and transport emissions on Black Friday and stay cosied up indoors. Shopping online can be better for the planet if you choose sustainable companies with environmental efforts in place, such as energy-efficient transport and recyclable packaging.
Excessive packaging is a massive culprit of unnecessary waste from Black Friday to New Year's! But the consumers have the power to prevent it. By shopping at fewer places and making smaller orders, you can reduce packaging. However, if you think you can't avoid making a heft order, make sure to recycle or reuse whatever packaging that you can. Another wonderful benefit of shopping from sustainable businesses is that they're likely going to have eco-friendly packaging.
Keep your scope relatively small by avoiding shopping at too many different places (this is important for online shopping and in-person shopping). By keeping to only a handful of shops, you prevent fuel costs, emissions and extra packaging.
The lifespan of what you buy is crucial for shopping sustainably, which is why single-use items are considered the least eco-friendly of products. So when you're browsing the shops, make sure you are buying things that are built to last and then take care of them to make them last a lifetime.
Online stores will sometimes give you the option to receive your purchases in less packaging to lessen the waste - always choose this option!
Returning items requires more shipping that we can easily avoid by making sure we're purchasing the right things. This Black Friday (and all year round), let's end the trend of buying items with the intention of sending them back!
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