Make Friday green again: the reality behind Black Friday sales

Oxford Street, Image: Jamie Davies Unsplash

Black Friday this year is on the 26th November, let’s make it a positive one to remember.

It’s that time of the year again: prepping for Christmas, treating yourself or simply wanting to check out the latest deals. This year, stores and brands drop prices to stir up the shopping day known as Black Friday. This popular day, takes a negative toll on the environment, but how? let’s talk about it. 

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The busiest shopping street in London, Oxford Street are preparing for their busiest working day of the year. The first year coming out of the coronavirus pandemic, we can expect a large amount of shopping to take place online compared to previous years. But whether it’s online or in person, what does this annual festival of rampant consumerism mean for the environment?

COP26 has just finished but the real work has just begun. With increasing awareness of how human consumption is harming the planet, is there a place for large shopping events to take place anymore?

According to the company, British Black Friday, home deliveries last year in the UK produced 429,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent of 435 return flights from London to New York or the same weight as 61,308 elephants.

Some brands, including Allbirds, known for its end-to-end sustainable footwear, are boycotting the sale and asking customers to do the same. 

Oxford Street, Image: Jonathan Chng Unsplash

The environmental toll of Black Friday stems from the products themselves. Many products are bought during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which many filter into the fastest growing waste stream on the planet: electronic waste (e-waste). According to EcoCart, 80% of our Black Friday purchases are simply thrown away after just one or even zero uses.

Green Friday is a day for providing impact-focused promotions rather than discounted sales. Brands and consumers are becoming more woke on the negative connotations of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Traditional sales cause a loss of 10% on each order, whilst a sustainability sale will only run you 1-2% on each order, make it a positive decision for yourself and the environment.

Before going to the sales this year, pause and think whether you need the item. If yes, can you buy it second hand or borrow it?

Words: Valeria Vintimilla | Subbing: Tia Janowski

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