The Dark Side of Black Friday & How to Turn it Green

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Black Friday returns tomorrow, and you can bet millions of us will be hunched over our laptops or phones, ready to divulge our hard-earned money on the stellar one-day deals. And it’s safe to say, we won’t just be buying the essentials.

 In fact, it's predicted that households across the globe consumers will spend around £50 billion in the space of just four days.

However, the impact of this absurd spending ranges far and wide, from our personal pockets to the wellbeing of our planet.

According to the think tank Green Alliance, up to 80% of items bought over the weekend – and their attached packaging – will wind up incinerated, in a landfill – or at best – recycled poorly following a short lifespan.

The plastic packaging, low-quality items, and shipping pollution all add up to a cocktail of bad news for the climate. And so came, ‘Green Friday’, orthe ‘anti-Black-Friday movement, to help raise awareness about the harm done b your shopping habits.

But, how can we tackle this? And how do we make the most of the bargains while still helping out?

1.   Know this: Happiness is not found in a cardboard box.

Writer, Amanda Cassidy has urged us to rethink our existing relationship with buying. That’s not to say buying is inherently evil, but that many of us are victims to an advertising ruse: the idea that ‘ultimate happiness exists inside a cardboard box wrapped in plastic.’

Ultimately, this quick dopamine kick after a purchase leaves us more often than not - unsatisfied. In fact, buyer’s remorse is at an all-time high at this time of year, as low-quality items (usually from fast fashion stores) go unused.

Reminding yourself that you’ll probably be so over that top or niche kitchen device in a couple days, can help you refrain from making any impulse purchases.

2.  Support Local Brands and Small Businesses

Ignoring the sales altogether may be ideal, but for us mere mortals, avoiding the onslaught of emails, adverts & social media stories, may be just a tad unrealistic.

Environmental charity The First Mile suggests shopping local – and certainly not overseas: the “easiest way to reduce the carbon footprint of our purchases while still supporting small businesses.” Are there any small businesses you can support? Simply purchasing from them could help not just the planet, but also help those businesses survive in these unprecedented times.

3. Support Green Friday and Giving Tuesday

Thankfully, many retailers are catching on to the recent wave of eco-awareness and have some initiatives of their own that you can support.

Health and Fitness company Vivo Life is donating 10%of their revenue made on Black Friday to environmental charities, as well as planting an impressive 10 trees for every one order on its website.

The clothing outlet retailer The Outnet has launched it’s Black Friday sale on Wednesday with even bigger savings off mid and high-range brands. However, to balance this out it is launching a ‘Giving Tuesday’ initiative on December 1st, where 20% of all proceeds from their brand Iris & Ink will go to a charity helping women who have survived war: Women for Women International.

If you’re looking to buy jewellery for yourself or for a loved one, it may be worth checking out the British-brand Missoma. In an effort to set off their carbon footprint and aid reforestation, for every BlackFriday offer made, they have promised to plant a tree along the tropical belt.

When it comes to buying the essentials, this is the perfect time to bag a bargain. For those treat purchases, supporting eco-friendly, or local businesses can be a great way to indulge guilt-free.

Or you can skip the sales, and  start a savings plan with Wagebox instead!