Ah, Black Friday – that day of the year when retail stores become battlefields, and shopping carts double as weapons. It's the one day of the year when it's perfectly acceptable to elbow your way through crowds in search of that elusive bargain. And the irony is, that Black Friday always comes shortly after we’ve supposedly expressed gratitude for all that we already have in our lives.
But as the dust settles and we survey the damage to our bank accounts, it's time to ask the question: what's the true cost of our consumerist frenzy on this annual shopping spree?
In this blog, we'll explore the waste consequences of Black Friday that will leave you rethinking your next impulse purchase.
It's time to peel back the curtains and face the reality that we desperately need to stop overconsuming.
The Truth About Black Friday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have become major shopping events, were originally created to boost the economy and to encourage consumer spending. These days often feature massive discounts and deals, tempting people to spend their hard-earned money on extremely cheap products.
However, it's important to recognize that these events largely benefit big corporations, and the focus is often on profits rather than the well-being of consumers or workers.
While the sales may seem enticing, it's crucial to think beyond the discounts and consider their consequences. Some products are priced so low that it raises questions about how they were produced. Unethical labor practices, like underpaid or overworked employees, can be a dark reality behind the scenes of cheap goods. As consumers, we should ask ourselves, "How is it that the prices are so low?" Most of the time, either the environment or the employees are paying the consequences.
The Real Impact of Black Friday Shopping
The allure of online shopping during these events often results in a spike in shipping activity, which contributes to higher carbon footprints. The constant delivery of packages to doorsteps near and far results in an increase in transportation emissions, including those from delivery trucks and airplanes. This surge in shipping accelerates the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Shipping is, indeed, a heavy hitter when it comes to environmental harm. It is a leading contributor to pollution, from the emissions of ships and planes to the plastic waste generated by packaging. The rise of online shopping on Cyber Monday exacerbates this issue further. The sheer volume of cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and plastic packaging used to protect and deliver products translates to a massive surge in waste that often ends up in landfills, oceans, or incinerators.
To make matters worse, many of the items being shipped are often low-quality, mass-produced products that are discounted, leaving consumers with short-lived goods and contributing to a throwaway culture. Such items are often produced under conditions that exploit labor, leading to a lack of fair wages and ethical treatment for the people who make them. As these products break or become obsolete, they also add to the growing problem of ocean plastics and environmental degradation.
It's a sobering reminder that while these shopping events may offer seemingly attractive deals, the environmental and social costs can be substantial. Yet, there is still so much room for climate optimism. By rethinking our shopping habits and prioritizing eco-friendly choices, we're actively contributing to a greener future. Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be an opportunity for us to demand transparency and sustainable practices from businesses. By redefining the way we participate in these events, we can work towards a more responsible consumer culture.
What Can We Do?
One of the most revolutionary acts you can do during these shopping events is to support small, local, and ethical brands. These businesses prioritize sustainability and treat their employees fairly. By choosing to spend your money with them, you're getting quality products while supporting a more ethical and sustainable economic model.
Another meaningful alternative is to participate in a trash pickup or engage in community service. Rather than succumbing to the pressure of buying more, you can use these days to make a positive impact on your community. Even participating in a small community event can demonstrate to others that there are alternatives to rampant consumerism.
You can also share your support for ethical and sustainable shopping with your friends, encouraging them to make mindful choices as well. Ultimately, the power to shape these shopping events lies in the hands of consumers, and by making more conscious choices, we can drive positive change.
How To Shop Ethically on Black Friday & Beyond
Here are some sustainable shopping tips and eco-friendly ideas that allow us to vote with our dollars for a greener, happier Earth.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
When hunting for deals on Black Friday, remember that the best bargain isn't necessarily the cheapest one. Invest in products that are built to last, reducing the need for replacements and ultimately decreasing waste. Focusing on high-quality items can reduce the waste you create and save you money in the long run.
Support Eco-friendly Brands
Seek out brands that prioritize sustainability, using eco-friendly materials and ethical production practices. By choosing such brands during the holiday season, you're making a statement about how you’d like businesses to operate in the world.
You’re also supporting environmentally responsible businesses that are usually smaller and family-run. Most small sustainable businesses start as passion projects created by innovators hoping to make a change in their industry.
Consider buying secondhand or vintage items. Thrift stores and online marketplaces are treasure troves of unique, eco-friendly finds. Reusing items is a fantastic way to reduce the demand for new production.
Embrace the spirit of minimalist gifting by giving experiences or meaningful, eco-friendly gifts. A thoughtful present with a smaller environmental footprint can mean more to your loved ones than generic items.
DIY and Handmade Gifts
Get creative and craft your own presents or support local artisans who create handmade, sustainable products. These unique gifts showcase thoughtfulness and care, adding a personal touch to your holiday shopping.
Whenever possible, buy from local businesses. Supporting local shops reduces the carbon footprint associated with shipping and contributes to the growth of your community.
Our Black Friday Recommendations
Sometimes it can be hard to resist making some sort of purchase on Black Friday. After all, we’re all conditioned by society to want new things, especially around the holidays.
Did you know that there is a sustainable alternative for nearly any product you could hope for? From food storage containers to backpacks, home goods, and skin care, excellent sustainable products exist. Some of these products make excellent, thoughtful gifts for loved ones.
Sustainable Gift Boxes
Gift boxes are the perfect solution for that hard-to-shop-for person in your life. They’re also great bundle deals on sustainable products that you might want to keep for yourself! Explore our range of sustainable gift sets this Black Friday to indulge in a more ethical way. Plus, some of these boxes support multiple small brands, increasing your positive impact.
Luxurious Personal Care Products
We all know someone who would love to try a new brand of shampoo or a new skincare product but would never buy it for themselves. Perhaps you are that person! This Black Friday, try supporting a new personal care brand that creates ethically made and sustainably sourced products.
You may discover a new favorite foundation free of toxic chemicals, or a facial serum that changes your skincare game forever. There are a plethora of small, vetted personal care brands on our website to explore.
Non-Toxic Soy Wax Candles
What says it’s the holiday season more than a cozy candle? It’s time to stop buying cheap, unnaturally scented candles and invest in hand-poured, non-toxic scents. Candles make a classic gift perfect for anyone in your life and can fulfill that consumer craving to buy something new without breaking the bank (or harming the environment too much).
Plus, Seed Phytonutrients’ candles are made right here in the USA, reducing shipping emissions and supporting localized production.
Sustainable Black Friday Shopping
Remember that every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. This Black Friday, and throughout the holiday season, let's give back to the Earth with conscious consumer choices.
Shop mindfully this holiday season and save 10% on your first order with Green Eco Dream with code: BLOG10.
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