November has arrived. In the Northern Hemisphere, the trees have turned, bringing a beautiful golden hue to our streets, fields and forests. If you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on your preference) you might even be enjoying a crystal-white dusting of snow. At the same time, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are breaking out the swimwear and sunscreen once more, in preparation for the heat of summer.
But for all of us, one thing is for sure at this time of the year – we are about to be spammed with messaging about SALES!!
November brings with it one of the biggest sales weekends of the year – Black Friday.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday marketing pushes us to spend money we don’t have, often on things we don’t need, resulting in negative impacts for both the environment and our society.
The term originated in the US to describe the shopping day after Thanksgiving, when the sheer volume of shoppers created traffic accidents and sometimes even violence. Police coined the phrase to describe the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrians and traffic in downtown shopping areas.
It can be easy to get sucked in to Black Friday sales – I mean, hands up who hasn’t purchased something they didn’t really need, just because it was on sale? I know I have. And I know I’ve also regretted it.
Our motto at Earth Collective is to use what you have first, then buy quality, ethically made, environmentally friendly products that are gentle on people and the planet.
Gift-giving is also a great chance to introduce people to new products and habits that can make a positive impact on their consumption and health.
Here are some of our top tips for shopping consciously throughout the festive season.
1. Join the movement to Green Out Black Friday
Make a pledge to spend your hard-earned money only with planet-positive businesses throughout the festive shopping period, and promote your promise by ‘Greening Out’ your social media on 26th November 2021.
Keep an eye on Earth Collective’s social media channels over the next month and beyond, as we will be sharing some of our favourite Planet-Positive businesses who have also made the pledge to Green Out Black Friday this year.
For more information and to get all the tools you need to take part, head to https://greenoutblackfriday.com/get-involved.
2. Plan early.
When we rush, it’s harder to avoid the quick fixes that come with a burden to our planet.
Being mindful takes time and thought, so why not start browsing your favourite sustainable brands now?
Make a list of your loved ones and think about what gift they would really value or, even better, ask them what they want and make sure that your gift is truly treasured and used as much as possible.
Almost one in five (19 per cent) unwanted gifts will end up in landfill this Christmas.
3. Look for plastic-free options.
It’s estimated that 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown away and not recycled in the UK – which is more than the weight of 3.3 million Emperor penguins!
Gifts for bubs and kids are often plastic-heavy, so look for natural, organic and eco-friendly ideas this year.
4. Shop around
If you have a particular gift in mind for a particular person and you want to find the most planet-positive way to purchase it, then search engines are your friend, my friend! Plenty of sustainable, independent businesses will be running special offers, such as slow sales, unique products or loyalty and referral bonuses, around the festive season. Start your research early, bookmark the independent businesses that you find and sign up to their email lists to make sure you are the first to know of any special offers or sales they might be running.
For added planet-positive points, do your online research with search engines like Ecosia or Gexsi, which actually help the environment – Gexsi by using its profits to support the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and Ecosia by investing 80 percent of its profits into several projects that plant trees.
5. That’s a wrap!
Wrapping paper is a single-use item and in Australia, we use approximately 8,000 tons of it every Christmas, only for it to be admired for a few seconds, ripped apart and thrown away.
Try reusing newspapers, paper bags or last year’s wrapping paper instead.
For something really unique, try Furoshiki, the art of Japanese fabric wrapping and knot tying!
The global impact of Black Friday on the planet
Research shows Aussies spend around $3.9 billion in November on a variety of products, including beauty, gadgets, food, alcohol, travel, and clothes.
An estimated $400 million is spent on 10 million unwanted gifts at Christmas, many of which were discarded and likely ended up in landfill.
Black Friday increases air pollution, with an additional 82,000 diesel delivery vans estimated to be out on the UK roads alone to fulfil orders, with plastic toys and short-living electronic goods among the most popular purchases.
During Cyber Monday, electronic items are some of the most commonly purchased. All those new phones, tablets, cameras, and home gadgets will eventually turn into electronic waste, or “e-waste.” U.N. findings show that only about 20 percent of e-waste is recycled, and when electronics are thrown into landfills, they have the potential to leak toxic materials like lead and mercury into the air, water, and soil, which poses a health risk.