Businesses should choose sustainable Black Friday alternatives

Businesses should choose sustainable Black Friday alternatives
Senior environmental studies and journalism double major Ana McCabe.

Everyone knows what comes after Thanksgiving. No, it’s not Christmas. It’s Black Friday, the event of the year where people charge to stores to feast upon great prices the day after they feasted upon great food.

Recently, some companies have replaced their Black Friday deals with a “Green Friday’’ approach.

According to an article by the website SmartCompany, Peter Krideras, co-founder of the Australian company Releaseit, created an official Green Friday in fall 2021 to help reduce the environmental footprint of retail consumerism.

This year, Green Friday partnered with sustainability-focused companies such as Hero Packaging, Sendle and The Latch on Nov. 18-21 to provide online deals for consumers looking to reduce their environmental impact.

Seven major categories, ranging from home to fashion to travel, created deals with various companies, and Green Friday’s website provided information about the brands it’s working with.

In an article from The Latch, lifestyle writer Sangeeta Kocharekar said the Green Friday approach encourages consumers to avoid getting caught in the bandwagon of crazy shopping and instead mindfully consider ethical offers. It does this by “shining a spotlight” on brands within the sustainable economy space.

Along with these retailers, Green Friday has partnered with organizations like Good360, 1% for the Planet, Carbon Neutral and Sustainable Choice. These organizations and charities work to prioritize sustainable retail and encourage sustainable consumer and business practices.

Days such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday often incentivize impulse shopping due to major deals like “buy one get one 50% off” that are advertised as “one time only.”

Consumers tend to buy products they may not have intended to buy because of these advertised deals. This increase in retail consumerism leads to an increase in waste produced through production, transportation and materials bought but not used.

The cost of Black Friday deals do not only make a dent in consumer’s wallets, but they also contribute to larger environmental footprints.

Research by the English waste collection company WasteManaged highlights a few statistics on the waste produced during Black Friday, such as the fact that 80% of products bought on Black Friday end up in landfill and are incinerated or are recycled poorly.

Additionally, over one million tons of electronic waste end up in landfills each year because of Black Friday shopping.

Luckily, Green Friday is not the only company that provides sustainable shopping alternatives during the holidays.

Patagonia is one sustainably focused company that does not participate in Black Friday deals.

Instead of focusing on selling new clothing during the shopping day, an article on Patagonia’s website says the company would like to “slow down and think about the bond we all build with our clothes” by teaching people how to repair what they already own or shopping for used gear that would otherwise be thrown out.

When consumers do need something new, the company urged people to buy gear that is “built for the long haul.”

Terra Shephard, a local boutique in downtown Sioux Falls that sells sustainable and fair trade products, also closed their store this Black Friday in an effort to practice sustainable mindfulness.

Green Friday is one way consumers and producers can work together to reduce society’s environmental footprint.