Every year in November, brands drop their prices for Black Friday sales and usually cause a shopping frenzy. Whether it’s in a store or online – who doesn’t love sales and discounts? While Black Friday can be a great opportunity to buy that one item you’ve been thinking about for ages at a great price, it is important to understand that Black Friday does not only influence consumer behaviour.
The environmental impacts of Black Friday are drastic. According to Waste Managed, UK shoppers spent about £4.8 billion on last year’s Black Friday. These huge amounts of money are not only spent in the UK, but globally as well. Due to low prices and sales tactics, brands promote mass consumerism by convincing and encouraging people to buy a product just because it is on sale. This is a huge problem for the environment, as a) shippings as well as return shippings cause millions of metric tons of CO2-emissions, and b) most products purchased on Black Friday weekend or Cyber Monday are only used a couple of times before ending up in a landfill. For instance, every year 1.4 million tonnes of electronic waste are disposed of in landfills.
Waste Managed states that this year’s Black Friday will produce an estimated 429,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – and that is only from product deliveries. In comparison, “that’s the same as 435 return flights from London to New York!”
BLACK FRIDAY: DO’S AND DON’TS
Do: Buy only what you need. – Before Black Friday, make a list of all the things you’ve been thinking about getting. Then have a look at that list and consider how many times and for how long you will be using the items listed. What do you necessarily need? Do you really want this product, or are you just intrigued to buy it because it’s on sale? Avoid impulse purchases.
Don’t: Shame people for shopping on Black Friday – Although we can all agree that Black Friday is a nightmare for the environment and the employees working over-time, the offers and sales can be really helpful for people who are financially struggling. For people who are working paycheck to paycheck, Black Friday might be the only opportunity to afford that new jacket or pair of shoes they have wanted for years or perhaps even small luxuries, like electronics or kitchen utensils.
Do: Spread awareness – If you understand the environmental impacts of Black Friday, educate your friends and family. There is nothing wrong with buying stuff you need on Black Friday, but there are people who shop for thousands of pounds/dollars/euros on Black Friday and invest that money only in slow fashion or electronics that they might dispose of within a year.
Don’t: Replace still good items with newer products – We all have those people in our lives: they have a functioning phone and yet, they need to have the newest one on the market – just because. These ‘upgrades’ are especially frequent for electronics and completely unnecessary. Phones, for instance, contain countless raw materials that are often rare and sourced in developing countries under horrendous labour conditions. Our tip: Only replace your phone, laptop, or other electronic devices when you actually need to and use them until they do not function properly anymore. Because let’s be honest – is following a trend really more important than protecting our planet and the people living on it?
MAKING BLACK FRIDAY GREEN
At FabRap, we are joining many other sustainable brands by making Black Friday green. For every order made this Black Friday weekend, we are planting not one but two trees with our certified planting partner C-Free.
Learn more about our commitments to the planet here.
Bassett, Sarah. "The scary environmental impact of Black Friday and Cyber Monday." Sarah Bassett, https://sarahbassett.co/environmental-impact-of-black-friday-and-cyber-monday/.
"Is Black Friday Bad For The Environment?" Waste Managed, https://www.wastemanaged.co.uk/black-friday-waste/#:~:text=Black%20Friday%20waste%20facts%20and%20statistics&text=This%20year's%20(2022)%20Black%20Friday,from%20London%20to%20New%20York!.
Vetter, David. "This Is How Black Friday Hurts The Planet - But Attitudes Are Changing." Forbes, 24 November 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidrvetter/2020/11/24/this-is-how-black-friday-hurts-the-planet-but-attitudes-are-changing/?sh=382913f72863.