Tips to Make Your Black Friday Shopping More Eco-Friendly
Thanksgiving is coming up quickly, which means many people are already planning their Black Friday shopping sprees. Black Friday brings some of the largest sales of the year, just in time for Christmas and the winter holidays. But while those deals are fantastic for shoppers, they come with some major drawbacks. The seasonal increase in holiday spending results in loads of solid waste and much higher energy consumption. Let’s discuss specific ways Black Friday impacts the environment before moving on to tips you can follow to have an eco-friendly Black Friday.
Why is Black Friday Bad for the Environment?
- The Dark Side of Sales
Businesses hold sales because they hope the lowered cost of their products encourages shoppers to make larger purchases. Sometimes this can benefit both the shopper and the business. Consumers who need to make a larger purchase get a deal and the business gets to sell more inventory. But sales encourage everybody to make a larger purchase, not just the people who need them. A nasty side effect of a huge wave of sales is a huge wave of non-recyclable trash. Physical waste like plastic and Styrofoam can sometimes take decades to decompose in a landfill.
- The Effects of Delivery
Online sales produce the same level of physical waste that sales in brick-and-mortar stores do, but also pose an additional threat to the environment. With online sales, the shoppers’ orders have to be delivered to their homes. This requires a fleet of delivery trucks that burn fossil fuels. Burning fuel derived from crude oils is a major contributor to air pollution. When orders need to travel internationally it can be especially bad for the environment because of the massive amount of fuel it takes to cross oceans.
Tips for an Eco-Friendly Black Friday
- Consolidate Purchases and Shipments
Though you might not be able to entirely avoid having a gift delivered this Black Friday, you can take steps to lessen the delivery processes impact. One of the most effective ways to do this is by consolidating purchases and shipments whenever possible. Having all of your products shipped as one large package can save space on delivery trucks and reduce air pollution. Try to order as many of your gifts from the same store, and in the same instance, as you can. Doing so will increase the odds all of the products in your order will be consolidated into one large box.
- Opt For Sustainable Shipping
When shopping online, many consumers will choose the cheapest shipping services they can find. While this is a good strategy for finding a deal, it isn’t very kind to the planet. Some online retailers offer sustainable shipping options for environmentally-conscious shoppers. These shipping options have measures in place to ensure they have a less negative effect on the planet. For instance, some delivery companies have created fleets of electric delivery vehicles. Avoid expedited shipping options if you want to lessen the damage the delivery process does. Expedited shipping options might require more fuel to be used than the slower standard options.
- Shop Locally
Large multinational chains might be offering the biggest sales this holiday season, but there are a few secret perks to shopping locally. Most importantly, gift shopping from local businesses is much greener. This is because many of the products local businesses offer are locally sourced. When products don’t have to travel far from their source, less air pollution is generated. Purchasing your loved ones’ gifts from local businesses also supports the local economic system. Additionally, gifts bought from local businesses have a certain charm to them. Anyone could have a product from a multinational corporation, but local products are more special.
- Use Alternative Wrapping Papers
Wrapping paper may seem harmless, but it is one of the most plentiful forms of physical waste from the holidays. Many kinds of wrapping paper are also nonrecyclable, which means they can only be used once before it has to be replaced. Instead of buying wrapping paper for your holiday presents this year, consider using an alternative like newspapers. Newspapers are cheap, widely available and recyclable. You can even use the comics section of the newspaper to keep the wrapping paper fun instead of black and white. Another alternative to wrapping paper is the box of another product. This gives you an opportunity to reuse a box and trick your loved one by concealing the gift as something else. Fabrics, old maps, tissue paper, grocery store bags and more can all be used, too.
- Fight the Urge to Impulse Buy Gifts
As previously mentioned, one of the downsides to sales is the amount of physical waste they can produce. This is because sales encourage shoppers to purchase more products than they normally would or even need. Sometimes completely unused products are even thrown out. You can play your part in reducing the amount of waste sales produce by fighting the urge to impulse buy gifts. Avoiding impulse purchases will reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in landfills.