It’s that time of year again. Black Friday is right around the corner and with it comes a new round of consumerism and environmental destruction.
But you can help save the environment this Black Friday by making informed decisions about what to buy, where to buy it from, and how those purchases will impact the planet for years to come. Here are 35 ways you can make your Black Friday eco friendly
When you shop at a local retailer, you are not supporting the economy of foreign countries that may have lax environmental standards. Buying fair trade is also an ethical concern but it is especially important to support our own country’s labor laws and minimum wage for retail workers. You can find local retailers on Yelp or even search to see if there are any in your area via online directories.
Don’t just buy one, give one!
The concept of “buy one, give one” was started by TOMS, a company that manufactures shoes and donates one for every bag they sell. This way, you purchase an item and you also give someone in need a new item or another accessory through the seller themselves. Beware though, this concept has been abused by some companies that charge “exorbitant” rates for their products.
Recycled products work just as well as regular products but come from recycled materials instead of brand-new ones which saves energy and reduces carbon emissions. It also helps keep the environment clean and is a great way to spread awareness about environmental issues.
Sustainable products come from sustainable materials such as bamboo, recycled plastic, and organic cotton instead of conventional materials such as petroleum-based plastics which pollute our oceans and air. In addition, sustainable products are those that enforce fair labor laws and have been made from recycled materials which save energy and reduce carbon emissions.
There’s a wide variety of items to buy secondhand including toys, clothes, equipment for sporting activities, and appliances such as washers and dryers. Instead of purchasing brand new versions of these things, why not take advantage of the savings at the local thrift store?
Buy reusable goods over disposable ones
It is possible to find many household items such as silverware and storage containers that can be reused instead of thrown away after one use. You can also purchase baked goods from your local bakery or start making your own at home. Most raw ingredients can be bought in bulk for a significantly cheaper price than their packaged counterparts and you will reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in landfills or as litter.
Bring your own bags to the store
Someday, we may ban plastic bags altogether and implement a fee on paper bags as they have in countries like Ireland and China to reduce waste and save energy and resources used to make them. Until then, remember to bring your reusable bags with you every time you go shopping!
Use reusable bottles
If you buy water frequently, purchase a reusable bottle to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills. Many reusable bottles now come with filters so you can fill them up safely from natural sources such as rivers or lakes without worrying about dirtying your own hands.
Opt for clothing made from sustainable materials
You can find everything you need at thrift stores including clothes made from organic cotton, bamboo, recycled plastic bottles, and other materials that are both eco-friendly and ethically manufactured. You don’t have to pay full price! Just make sure to check the quality of fabrics before you buy secondhand clothing so it doesn’t wear down too quickly.
Purchase solar panels at discounted rates
Solar installations aren’t often within the buying range of the average consumer. Thankfully, Black Friday is a great time to purchase discounted solar panels and save money in the long term while keeping the environment greener.
Shop at small businesses
Small businesses produce less pollution per person due to their smaller teams, fewer locations, and fewer products which cut down on emissions from transportation and keep your dollars within your local community so they can be reinvested back into it.
Take public transit or ride a bicycle if you have access to them
If you take public transit or ride a bicycle instead of driving when going shopping, you will cut down on emissions from gasoline combustion in your vehicle which keeps our air clean and helps prevent global warming!
Instead of using brand new sheets of paper for your Black Friday shopping list, reuse scrap pieces of paper to reduce waste and help the environment by cutting down on the amount of tree pulp used in our daily lives.
Purchase eco-friendly cleaning products
Traditional cleaning products contain many harmful chemicals that can be difficult to use safely without the right training. Check out chemical-free cleaning products from a local seller and keep your home safe for you and the environment.
Buy only what you need
You don’t need to buy every impulse item that catches your eye during Black Friday shopping. Instead, make a list of what you truly need and stick with it! Once you’ve purchased everything you actually need, you can reward yourself for a job well done by treating yourself to something extra.
Recycle as much as possible
Many people don’t realize that recycling is only one of several steps in the process of reducing waste and environmental damage. You must reduce your consumption first before recycling can be effective.
Invest in energy-efficient appliances
Appliances account for 20 percent of household electricity use so purchasing energy-efficient appliances will help save money on your utility bill every month, even after Black Friday deals are over.
Hunt for deals online instead of in stores
Crowds add to the amount of pollution caused by Black Friday shopping as people bring gas-powered cars into cities and contribute to air pollution from traffic jams on roads while they hunt for deals.
Clean up after yourself when using public restrooms
Many stores have no environmental policy regarding their restrooms which results in a lot of paper towel waste, and with Black Friday right around the corner, things won’t get any better. It’s best to avoid using public restrooms whenever possible to prevent further toilet paper wastage. But if you MUST go, make sure to clean up after yourself when you do use them so others don’t have to deal with the mess.
Purchase carbon offsets to compensate for your fossil fuel emissions
When you contribute to global warming during Black Friday shopping, you can make up for the environmental damage by purchasing carbon offsets. This is just another reason to purchase solar panels on Black Friday as they can be used to make up for the carbon emmissions in our everyday lives.
Decline plastic bags when you make purchases
Plastic bags are made from petroleum and produce a large amount of waste as people use them once and throw them away – or simply forget about them until it is too late! Recycle your plastic shopping bags, refuse new ones at the register, or consider the option of bringing reusable cloth totes with you throughout the holiday season.
Shop online (and only online) if possible
Online shopping is more environmentally friendly than traditional brick-and-mortar stores because it eliminates all transportation emissions that occur during retail shopping trips. It also cuts down on packaging materials which goes a long way towards reducing environmental damage. Amazon.com is a one stop shop that can offer you virtually anything you can think of, and with free shipping too in some cases!
Use rechargeable batteries
Disposable alkaline batteries are made from zinc and contain mercury, cadmium, and other harmful materials which can seep into groundwater if they are thrown away or improperly recycled. Rechargeable battery systems that plug into outlets are a great option for powering personal electronics without generating hazardous waste that needs to be carefully disposed of later on.
Only print what you need
Black Friday shopping is not the time to print coupons, flyers, or other ads unless absolutely necessary. Always keep an eye out for ways to shop online rather than printing additional copies of what you find! If you do have free access to a printer at work, make sure you use it responsibly.
Shop at stores that are environmentally sustainable
Buying merchandise made from sustainable materials is an easy way to protect the environment while Black Friday shopping this year. However, buying from stores that practice other environmentally sustainable practices like recycling, composting, and repurposing is even better.
Try buying refurbished equipment
Gently used consumer products can often be purchased without generating more waste in landfills, plus they can save you money! Try shopping for gently used workout equipment if you are looking to get healthy during Black Friday sales. Entering contests on Facebook where the prize is something useful like a power washer is another great way to score some free stuff on Black Friday!
Stay away from disposable cutlery
Disposable cutlery is cheap but it ends up polluting waterways and oceans with plastic waste that breaks down into tiny pieces that are impossible to clean up. If you need silverware during Black Friday shopping, bring some of your own so you can toss it in the recycling bin when done.
Donate extra household items to those who need them
Instead of generating waste by throwing away old clothes or other goods after Black Friday deals have been exhausted, consider donating those items so they can bring comfort to others who are less fortunate.
Buy everyday items in bulk
Buying multiples of everyday items like toothpaste, paper towels, and other goods is a great way to reduce packaging waste while still being economical. This makes it easy to choose eco-friendly products with minimal packaging material when you shop for bulk items like laundry detergent on Black Friday.
Consider resale or refurbished electronics, appliances, and computers
Selling your old electronic devices online is another great option during the holiday shopping season! There are plenty of places that offer free recycling services for these types of goods in addition to using products that can be purchased at reduced rates. Some companies will even allow Black Friday discounts if you agree to purchase their certified refurbished electronics instead of brand new products. This is an increasingly popular option because it often saves money for consumers and protects the environment by keeping similar items out of landfills.
Repair broken appliances instead of replacing them immediately
A great way to lower your carbon footprint during Black Friday sales is to repair appliances that break down rather than replace them with new ones right away! Many people end up throwing away perfectly good equipment because they missed a step in getting assistance from professional appliance technicians. Try hiring an independent contractor for things like dishwasher repairs instead of going on a shopping spree replacing household items.
Take advantage of discounts on reusable shopping bags
Black Friday gives shoppers an excellent opportunity to stock up on reusable bags rather than paying for plastic or paper ones every time they head out for groceries or other needs. Try taking a reusable bag with you during Black Friday shopping if stores offer discounts to shoppers who bring them along.
Participate in power-saving activities
Power companies will often work with customers who agree to take part in energy-saving campaigns throughout the year and change their behaviors as needed, like turning off lights when no one is around to use them. Try installing LED light bulbs and switches for all of your lighting fixtures so they can continue operating even when there is a blackout or faulty wiring issue at home. Black Friday often has huge sales on LED bulbs in bulk, which are energy-efficient and reduce your overall power consumption by up to 80%.
Get outside instead of getting busy in the malls
Along with staying away from Black Friday crowds that get out of control every holiday season, consider taking advantage of this time to explore nature! If shopping online is more convenient for you, try planning a hike or camping trip with friends during this free time so everyone can stay safe while enjoying the local scenery. You might even be able to go on an organized tour through eXtreme Restraints Tours if you want to have some fun while being eco-friendly at the same time.
Buy used toys for kids
Buying second-hand clothing is a great way to save money while reducing waste during Black Friday sales, but why stop there? You can find great deals on Christmas presents for kids that will keep them entertained without creating unnecessary plastic waste! Toys like building blocks and dolls can be found gently used at thrift stores for fractions of the price of new items. Of course, buying them new is a good option if you know the recipient will get a lot of use out of their gift and it will be played with care so they continue to have a great time for years to come.
Black Friday is an excellent opportunity to get in on some of the biggest sales of the year while also being eco-friendly. This is a win-win situation for everyone: companies and individuals alike can save money and protect the environment at the same time! By following these recommendations, you don’t have to sacrifice quality or convenience during the Black Friday shopping season.