With Black Friday on the way, we’ll no doubt see some crazy deals and marketing trying to convince us that we need the latest TV because it’s 2 inches bigger than the one we've got, or that we must have a different outfit for every Christmas party. It's easy to get sucked in and convince yourself it's too good a deal to miss but we often regret those impulse purchases.
One in three shoppers return items they’ve bought on Black Friday. One in three.
It’s terrifying to imagine all the unnecessary road and air miles, not to mention the wasted plastic polybags on all of those ‘must have’ last minute deals.
I’ve always been uncomfortable with Black Friday. Working in logistics, I saw first-hand the sheer volume of plastic polybags being flown around the globe. So many of these would have been imported to the UK from the Far East, to be sent the US, to come back to the retailer in the UK, only to be destroyed because they were already out of season. It’s a mind-blowing waste of resources.
The data shows that we as consumers do want to shop more sustainably, with 78% of us saying it’s more important now than a year ago, but it’s difficult to make the right choices when there’s so much mixed messaging and greenwashing out there.
Lots of fast fashion brands are launching ‘sustainable collections’ or promising that they’re going to be carbon neutral at some arbitrary date in the future. Spoiler alert: using 20% recycled polyester does not make your fast fashion dress ‘sustainable’ when you’re paying influencers to convince young women they need a new one every time they leave the house. I had to laugh when I saw one of the UK’s biggest firewood brands boasting about reducing the thickness of their plastic by 20%, saving 2 tonnes of plastic. Did they think we wouldn’t notice that means they’re still using 8 tonnes of plastic every year?
Things are improving though. We’re seeing an explosion of new ‘circular brands’, offering everything from furniture to cleaning products in a way that minimizes waste and their environmental impact. The anti-Black Friday movement, Green Friday, is also growing each year. More and more retailers are refusing to offer massive discounts and instead donating to charitable causes or planting trees for each order.
At Love Logs, we planted 10 trees for every order over the whole of the Green Friday weekend 2020 and in 2021 we plan to remove 10 pieces of ocean plastic, via Plastic Bank, for each order for the entire week following Black Friday (26th Nov - 3rd Dec).
So how can you have an ethical Black Friday?
- Use Black Friday as a great opportunity to get a bargain on something you need, but don’t buy clothes you’ll never wear just because they’re cheap
- Experiences over things! If you’re using Black Friday to shop for Christmas presents, why not consider buying them a voucher for a day out rather than clothes, toys or electronics?
- Support ‘Green Friday’ brands. The increase in demand will drive the bigger retailers to follow suit.
Everyone loves a bargain, but as consumers we need to consider whether our bargains are actually costing the earth.