Whether you enjoy the thrill of scoring day-after-Thanksgiving deals in store or prefer to take advantage of discounts online from the comfort of home, there’s something you should know: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are bad news for our environment. As companies slash prices for the kickoff of the holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, shoppers overconsume electronics, plastics and fast-fashion apparel — and our planet ultimately pays the price. According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 164 million people plan to go shopping between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday this season. That’s a lot of people buying a lot of products, many of them used for just a season or two and then discarded. It can lead to overconsumption & a lot of waste!
What is Conscious Consumerism?
Conscious Consumerism, also known as Ethical Consumerism, is shopping in ways that make a positive impact, and making sure that your purchases support people, organizations, and causes that matter to you. Have you ever opted for the small business over the large corporation, or chosen a product specifically for its ethical and/or environmental values? Congratulations—you’re already on the path to being a conscious consumer!
As conscious consumers, we don’t want to contribute to the massive waste that Black Friday causes—but we do want to take advantage of sales! Not sure how to be sustainable on Black Friday? Here are five ways to have your most sustainable Black Friday yet!
1. Shop Your Shared Values
Look for companies that have mission statements that align with yours. Often companies who include environmentalism in their “About” sections and offer wares that are sustainably produced will be working towards earth-friendly shipping practices. Dropps uses 100% carbon neutral shipping, and we aren’t the only ones! Take some time to scout out these brands and we know your conscience will thank you.
2. Look For What You Need
A deal isn’t really a deal if it’s something you don’t need! Make a list of things you would buy regardless of whether they were on sale and stick to it. Maybe you need a new microwave and there’s a great deal—but do you really need that 70% off cotton candy machine? Looking for deals on items you were already planning to purchase helps you refrain from overconsumption, and helps your wallet in the process.
3. Shop Local
Consider buying local, or at the very least products made in your country. Local businesses who create their own products often source ingredients and materials from their area. Boost your local economy and help a neighbor by ditching online shopping for just one of your shopping days this year and check a local farmer’s market. You’ll get to meet the maker, develop a more personal relationship with them, and get any questions or concerns you have answered in real time - that’s what we call customer service!
4. Combine Shipments
Plan ahead and order as much as you can from your favorite store in one go, rather than ordering per person you are buying for. This way you can buy for the whole family in one transaction, one shipment, and one bill, instead of 16 different boxes and shipments with the carbon footprint to show for it.
5. Celebrate Giving Tuesday Instead!
Launched in 2012, Giving Tuesday is a heartening development in the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday mayhem — and a way you can take action as an individual. This global movement across more than 150 countries encourages charitable donations and community action, and it serves as a good reminder to get involved in causes you care about. This Giving Tuesday, consider volunteering to clean up trash in your local park, starting a fundraiser, or offering your professional services for free to a short-staffed nonprofit organization or mutual aid in your area. You can also simply donate money to your favorite charity or organization, like Oceana!