Black Friday started in the 1980s as an unofficial US holiday to mark the beginning of the holiday season and the time for consumers to do their holiday shopping. It occurs on the Friday directly after Thanksgiving and is marketed as offering shoppers the best discounts and deals of the year on popular items such as electronics, clothing, cosmetics and honestly... pretty much anything.
Over the past few years Black Friday has morphed from a one-day event where people would stand in line outside a store for hours into week-long or even month-long sales, many of which are now occurring online. Retail stores see a whopping 30% of all of their sales happen between Black Friday and Christmas. Last year alone, 93.2 million people shopped online on Black Friday and online shopping sales hit $7.4 billion, an all-time high.
While we can all appreciate a great deal on items we want to buy, the hyper-consumerism brought on by Black Friday is having detrimental effects on our planet. This is why the movement of Green Friday came to exist. The idea behind Green Friday is to bring awareness to the ways in which this extreme form of (gift) shopping is harming the environment.
How is it harming the planet you may ask? Think about the carbon emissions produced by driving to the store and/or the shipping of millions of packages and gifts worldwide. Think of the plastic waste caused by the packaging of products and single use shopping bags. Moreover, how often do you end up buying something you don’t really need or get gifted an item you don’t really like only for it to end up in the trash a year later? Millions of shoppers buy and then discard smartphones and TVs, for example, contributing to the 50 million tons of electronic waste that the world produces each year, which leaks toxic chemicals like lead and mercury into the soil.
ECO FRIENDLY HOLIDAY SHOPPING
Green Friday is about turning the hyper-consumerism of Black Friday on its head and doing something good for the planet. There are many great alternative ways to get gifts this holiday season than to just “buy-buy-buy”. Here are some tips on how to do Green Friday right this year:
- Buy secondhand
There are so many great items you can buy secondhand. Preloved clothing is a great alternative to fast fashion. Hit up your local secondhand store or browse online on websites such as Depop. Secondhand stores are also great for general gifts or furniture!
- Buy good quality
Good quality items will last longer than bad quality ones, it’s as simple as that. It’s better to buy a more expensive, good quality item that will last you a long time than to buy a cheap item that will not last as long.
- DIY gifts
Use your hands and make something for someone as a gift. Whether you’re knitting a scarf, making your own Christmas cards or baking some cookies, homemade gifts are always appreciated more than store-bought ones!
- Buy sustainably
If you do still want to buy gifts, make sure you buy sustainably. Support sustainable businesses and find eco-friendly alternatives to items you want to buy. For example: buy an organic cotton sweater instead of a polyester one. Or an eco friendly yoga mat instead of a non-sustainable PVC one. Additionally, if you’re buying online, see if the store you’re buying from will do carbon neutral shipping. All the little things add up!