Black Friday, previously an all-American extreme sales day held the day after Thanksgiving, is now a worldwide phenomenon. The Green Friday movement is shifting the narrative from frenzied discount buying to purchase choices that are better for us and the planet.
The waste problem
Unless you have been living under a bushel, even here in Australia you are seeing Black Friday deals everywhere you look this week.
The problem is – Black Friday creates a huge amount of waste. Black Friday is designed to encourage people to spend and buy more – by offering huge discounts. People get high on buying big. We’ve all been caught up in it – buying more to get the good offer – and feeling great when it arrives on our doorstep.
The danger is that once we’ve calmed down, we realise we didn’t really want or need what we bought. We use it once or twice, it goes back in the cupboard, and not long after – in the bin and to landfill. Even worse - often what we buy is only designed to be used once or twice. Australians’ waste is growing at twice the rate of the population. Over 80% of our waste goes to landfill.
Not only that – we often spend more than we plan to. So we don’t actually save any real money.
The revolution: the Green Friday movement
Green Friday encourages not to mindlessly buy, but to mindfully buy. Starting in the early nineties, the movement has really taken off in the last few years. The concept is simple – think about what you are buying. Buy from brands that are good for both people and the planet.
Here are my 3 Top Tips for a great Green Friday.
1. Stop and think – do I really need this?
This is what I call the ‘Grandma question’. I grew up with a grandma that grew up in the Depression. Her idea of what was necessary was very simple and basic. She didn’t buy a lot of things – but what she did buy was good quality. She took care of it and made it last.
So firstly – is what you are looking at really something you need? It is practical, well-made and made to last? If it passes this test you can move to Tip 2.
2. Check the Eco Creds
Ok, so you have confirmed that you have found something beautiful and practical that you do really need. Now check what it is made from and where those materials come from. It is made from natural bio-degradable materials?
If you are shopping for clothes, remember, nylon & polyester are forms of plastic. So, in addition to feeling slimy and sticky on your skin, these plastic fabrics will leach plastic micro-fibres and not break down into natural elements once you have finished with them. Go for natural fibres - cotton, bamboo, silk or wool if you can.
Avoid plastic as much as you can. If you are buying wood try to ensure it is sustainably sourced.
3. Is my purchase helping or hurting people?
One of the best ways to ensure your purchase is doing good not harm, is to buy Fair Trade. Fair Trade is a movement that aims to alleviate poverty through trade – by ensuring fair wages and working conditions for producers and makers. The really great thing about Fair Trade is that by buying Fair Trade items, you are not only ensuring no harm is being done, you are empowering the artisans and makers and supporting their community.
If you’ve ticked all three boxes, feel good! The good news is, there are a whole lot of beautiful, gorgeous things out there for you to buy, that are good for you and good for the planet.
So explore, be mindful, and feel good.