Whether you treat it as a Buy Nothing Day, buy only from local and sustainability minded outlets, or do a good deed for the Earth, there are many ways to join the Green Friday movement.
Started in Canada in 2015, Green Friday was initially formed as a Buy Nothing Day, in which would-be consumers stay away from the shops to take a stand against the grab-happy sales that follow America’s Thanksgiving celebrations (looking at you, Black Friday). In recent years, these sales have spread across the globe, becoming popular in Europe and even infecting our retailers here in New Zealand.
According to UK thinktank Green Alliance, up to 80% of items bought on Black Friday are thrown away after just a few uses. Along with all the packaging, this equates to a 25% increase in waste in the USA between Black Friday and the New Year. The sale day also has a huge carbon footprint due to increased transportation needs, with an estimated 1.2 million tons of CO2 released during Black Friday week in Europe in 2022.
Counteracting this by being green on Green Friday doesn’t just mean keeping your wallet in your pocket, though. Lately, this movement has expanded to include other environmentally conscious behaviours, such as buying local and sustainable, tree planting and creating green gifts for your family and friends. With that in mind, here are a few ideas for going green on November 24th and beyond.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be cheaper to replace an item than it is to fix it. However, with a green mindset, you might find the latter is more satisfying – and it might not be as difficult or pricey as you think.
Look out for Repair Cafe events occurring around the country. By bringing together volunteers who are handy with the tools or know their way around a sewing machine, these pops up events offer a chance to get that toaster looked at or that sticky zip fixed without the huge associated price tag. For just a small donation towards the cause, you might also get the chance to learn some skills as you watch your item get fixed up good as new.
For items you can’t fix and don’t have the space to keep, try joining a Buy Nothing page on Facebook. It can be surprising how true that old adage about ‘one person’s trash’ can be - as even the most seemingly random bits and pieces find a new home on these pages.
Christmas may be hurtling towards us but there is still time to get crafty. Through the love, attention and time that goes into them, homemade gifts are the ultimate way to show you care.
However, while some of us are driven to craft scented candles or knit soft toys, we know that being artistic doesn’t come naturally to everyone, not to mention the fact that many of us are increasingly busy.
If this is you, there are many ways to create homemade gifts easily, spanning from baking Christmas cake to framing beautiful photos or potting up seedlings. For some inspiration, here’s an article we prepared earlier with some homemade gift ideas.
This year, why not pledge to make all your seasonal shopping local and sustainably sourced? For those items that must be outsourced, visit your local farmer’s or craft market and see what’s being created on your doorstep. Rather than getting Grandma that same packet of chocolates every year, you might find the locally crafted variety is a huge hit. You might even like to make it a family-wide policy to only buy each other sustainable and locally made gifts - this way everyone is sure to unwrap something unique and carefully chosen.
Give your timeBeyond taking a mindful approach to shopping, Black Friday is also an opportunity to give your time to a good cause. Get out and join your local tree planting group, clean up your neighborhood by trying plogging, or attend a sustainability event in your local area. Learn as much as you can about the impact your shopping can have on the environment and see if you can make some swaps for the better.
By turning away from the enticing nature of Black Friday sales, you’ll be proving that it can actually be easy to be green. Just don’t tell Kermit.