Restless Bee

How To Shop Sustainably This Black Friday (And Every Other Day)

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Black Friday is coming up and we know many people are waiting to take advantage of the best deals of the year. I’m sure you’re one of them. I consume on Black Friday, but I do so with greater ethical awareness (and have some suggestions for you).

What are the downsides of Black Friday?

The Black Friday deals are tempting enough on their own. But retailers like to make them seem as though they’re limited time only, which encourages people to buy things they might not need just because they can.


It has changed our perception of value. Consumers now prefer to wait until prices drop before they purchase. Low prices have become more desirable in our minds over real product value and product quality. This is especially problematic considering that such low prices for goods are often only possible because of cheap labour and poor environmental practices.


Black Friday, with its focus on buying as much as possible, generates a large amount of waste. Most of it will end up in a landfill rather than being donated to charity organizations or recycled. This waste is harmful to the environment and contributes to global warming.

It contributes to excess CO2 emissions, which harms our planet. Producing every object or garment has an impact already. The delivery of those items itself increases the amount of CO2 around this “weekend of bargains”.

My Black Friday Advice: 12 Tips To Shop Sustainably

1: Be considerate when choosing your shipping method.

To reduce the environmental impact of your packages, try to avoid express delivery. With each package that’s delivered, the vehicles have to make more journeys and therefore emit more emissions.

2: Support local businesses.

Ever since the pandemic, we’ve been supporting our local businesses. If you’re looking to be more environmentally friendly, pay a visit to the independent shops near you- which will also allow you to support local shop owners.

3: Stick to your list.

Black Friday makes it easy to buy things you don’t really need.

Who doesn’t like a bargain? I myself wait for sales to buy items I need. But this is where the focus should be: something you need.

Sales are a great way to access things that are normally out of your budget, or even your Christmas gifts.

However, you can be easily distracted or seduced by the deals in front of you. That’s how marketing works!

So, to make sure that you don’t fall for impulse buys, ask yourself the following questions before making a purchase decision. Then, make a list and stick to it:

Are you (or the person you plan to gift this to) really going to use it? What value will this have for the recipient?
How often will I/he/she/they wear it? If it’s a piece of clothing, how many times can I commit to wearing it?
Would I buy it if it weren’t on sale?
How was it made? Were the people who made it paid fairly?

4: Learn about the impact of online shopping

Shopping online is convenient and easy, which could make it seem like a sustainable alternative to travelling to the shops. But while you’re saving yourself some travel time, you might be overlooking the carbon emissions released from the gas-guzzling delivery vans and the plastic used to package each item. But just how much of an impact does this have? If last year’s Black Friday deliveries are anything to go by, it could equate to 215 flights between London and Sydney.

5. It’s not always best to use the “divide and rule” tactic.

When ordering online, try placing all your items in a single order, and make sure to consolidate your purchases whenever possible. This way, you can take advantage of free shipping offers and reduce the amount of money you’ll spend on shipping overall.

6. Carry your own shopping bags

If you are visiting a store on Black Friday, bring your own reusable shopping bag. Even though many small stores offer paper bags, nothing beats reusing something you already own. Always think reusable over disposable. Paper bags come from trees and have a carbon footprint so avoid them if possible. Of course, this also applies to plastic bags, which I personally believe are a big no-no.

7: Getting past the hustle and bustle

We love finding a bargain. But overspending on Black Friday—when we’re often shopping for things we don’t need—means we’re likely to be paying off our purchases for the next few weeks. A recent survey found that 50% of people get excited about their purchases only to have that excitement wear off within a day.

8: Cruelty-free is the way to be.

Animal cruelty shouldn’t be negotiable either in today’s day and age..Opting for vegan-friendly or plant-based products is another easy way to reduce the impact you make with your Black Friday sales. Cruelty-free items are usually marked with a logo so consumers can easily identify that they’re ethical – look for Leaping Bunny, Choose Cruelty Free and PETA-labelled products. 

 

9: Value is more important than price.

Instead of falling for the 50% off deal, fall for something a little pricier but sustainable. For example, each pair of leggings from Indigo Luna Leggings contains between 10-12 recycled plastic bottles. So if you’re on a mission to refresh your gym wardrobe, make sure you invest in pieces that are good for the planet, not just your bank account.

10: Understand how companies set prices

Although it may feel during Black Friday that you’re loading a load of bargains into your trolley, this isn’t always the case. In fact, research by Which? has found that only one in 20 Black Friday deals are actually genuine – meaning the retail advertised cheaper prices at a different point in the year.

11: Support sustainable retailers.

Although Black Friday has earnt itself a bad name (in terms of sustainability), there are retailers doing their bit to keep their emissions and environmental impact down.
These conscious companies are taking a stance against Black Friday, trying to raise awareness and encourage people to adopt a slow shopping mentality rather than getting tangled in overconsumption.
Here are a few brands I recommend

1. Tentree
2. Miakoda
3. Patagonia
4. Raeburn
5. DECIEM
6. Birdsong
7. Folk
8. Boody
9. Oxfam
10. Freitag

12. Give a try to “Green Friday”

Green Friday is an alternative to the compulsive shopping of Black Friday. It’s about replacing it with more responsible way of shopping. Green Friday is about thinking before we buy, being aware of how and where what we buy is produced, and supporting more environmentally conscious brands.
This year, Green Friday will run from November 25th to December 1st. It’s a counter to the “shop-till-you-drop” mentality of Black Friday. Participating in this year’s Green Friday is simple: purchasing mindfully and sustainably from your local brands.

I hope these suggestions will help you make more eco-friendly choices, both during this busy shopping season, and throughout the rest of the year. In the end, the market is ultimately driven by consumer demand, so we should use our power as consumers to influence businesses to think about why they do what they do. We’re all consumers at some level; as long as we are making conscious decisions about where we spend our money, it will make a difference.
If everyone made one small change when they buy their Black Friday deals, we can move together in a direction of greater sustainability. Ultimately, living sustainably means living mindfully, and making decisions with a focus on the products we use as well as how we use them. So to continue further down this green path of sustainability, remember that every choice matters! Happy Thanksgiving!

Let’s make this Black Friday greener!

As always, I’d love to hear from you.

See you for the next buzz 🐝

DISCLOSURE: Restless Bee is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

 

 

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