For any eco-conscious consumer, Black Friday – the day after American Thanksgiving when everyone goes into a hysterical shopping frenzy due to crazy retail discounts and promotions – is a tricky situation. On one hand, it’s clearly been created to promote overconsumption amongst the masses, but on the other, how hard is it to resist all those incredible sales?
It’s no wonder that throughout the years, environmental activists have come up with various initiatives to combat the Black Friday craze. From boycotting the day itself as Buy Nothing Day to creating something called Green Friday, there are actually plenty of ways to go against the tide.
What is Green Friday?
Green Friday (also called the “anti-Black Friday movement”) was created to reduce impulse buying and raise awareness about the impacts of our shopping habits. The first version of this event was in Canada in 1992 and it was called “Buy Nothing Day.” Now, it challenges consumers to either buy nothing on Black Friday or to shop local and/or sustainable brands.
Just think about all the waste associated with Black Friday – from the carbon emissions created by driving to the mall or browsing on the internet, to the millions of packages shipped around the world wrapped in plastic. A 2019 report found that 80% of items bought on Black Friday – and any plastic packaging they’re wrapped in – end up in landfills, incineration or at best, low-quality recycling, often after a very short lifespan. All in all, Black Friday is a very unsustainable event.
Besides this, it’s actually quite stressful – not only do you have to get up early to catch the sale, you also need to beat others to the cash registers in stores. It’s no wonder that the day often ends in violence!
Green Friday is all about spending time on the things that matter to you: family and friends, being outdoors or dedicating your time to worthwhile causes. In Hong Kong, this could mean disconnecting from your phone and other devices and going on a hike, sharing a meal with your family or friends or volunteering with various charities, like ImpactHK or Feeding Hong Kong.
Boycotting Black Friday isn’t about not buying things forever, it’s about being more considerate of the things you do buy. Take the time to reflect on anything you have your eye on: do you really need it? That discounted dress may be a beautiful addition to your wardrobe, but think about how many other dresses you have that you barely reach for.
See also: How To Shop Sustainably
So, What Can You Buy?
If you’re looking to live a more eco-friendly life, Black Friday can be an opportunity to purchase items that can help you on your sustainability journey. Here are some ideas:
Nanoleaf Energy-Efficient Lighting
Save electricity while upgrading your interior decor with Nanoleaf, a smart lighting pioneer. Available in several shapes including triangles and hexagons, their smart lighting panels can speak to one another and be customised to fit any design. Energy efficient and cool, they can even respond to music, sound or beats.
Available at nanoleaf.me
Nebia Water-Saving Shower Head
This futuristic shower head by Nebia provides more pressure and double the water coverage of traditional showers, giving you five extra minutes in the morning without worrying about your environmental impact.
Available at moen.com.hk
Casetify Eco-Friendly Phone Case
Did you know that Casetify makes sustainable phone cases? Made from 65% recycled and plant-based materials and printed with eco-friendly ink, these cases not only do good, but look good, too.
Available at casetify.com
Bamboa Bamboo Bed Sheets
These premium bed sheets from Bamboa are made from 100% bamboo fibre, which is three times more durable than cotton, naturally anti-bacterial and as soft as silk. Bamboo is a more eco-friendly choice since it doesn’t require pesticides or irrigation to grow, plus bamboo fibre is completely biodegradable!
Available at bamboahome.com
Sttoke Ceramic Shatterproof Coffee Mug
Sttoke’s ergonomically designed coffee mug will definitely help you cut down on your disposable coffee cup usage. Made from a shatterproof, German-engineered ceramic, your drinks will stay hot for three hours and cold for six in the insulated chamber – now can your takeaway coffee cup do that?
The cup comes in two different sizes (8oz and 12oz) and a variety of colours ranging from matte black, glossy white and grey to a bright coral red.
Available at homeless.hk
Cathay Pacific’s Green Friday flights
Even Cathay Pacific has rolled out a Green Friday campaign this year as part of their environmental initiatives.
From 19-29 November 2021, Cathay will be offsetting double the carbon emissions, free of charge, for every ticket sold with the discount code “CXGREEN”. Destinations include London, Frankfurt, Paris, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, New York, Dubai, Shanghai, Bangkok or Taipei, and the discount code will even get you HK$100 off.
Learn more at cathaypacific.com
See also: The Truth About… Carbon Offsets
Whether you’re planning to shop or not this Black Friday, the important thing is to do so mindfully and not impulsively. Why not take this opportunity to support local and sustainable brands, and turn the shopping holiday into an eco one?
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