The message is sneaking in everywhere: “20% discount!”, “Only today!”, “Black Friday offer!” The American Post-Thanksgiving tradition has entered our inboxes, TV-screens and shop windows all over the world, with the one sole purpose: getting us to buy, and buy a lot.
But after 70 years with the manic shopping tradition, counter-movements celebrating the term “Green Friday” is slowly receiving deserved attention. Many brands are boycotting the marketing ploy and creating anti-events – such as the National Parks in America, offering free entrance, to get people away from their screens and spend time together, away from the shops.
Kate Haines from UK green guide, Greenfinder, give her 5 tips on how you can make your black Friday Greener and also help you look ahead to Christmas and enjoy the season while cutting out waste and buying less!
1. Prelove, Experience & Make
Buy preloved items such as antiques, good quality second-hand books, vintage clothing or jewellery for presents rather than brand spanking new things. Buying experiences such as theatre tokens, tickets to sporting events, a massage or beauty treatments instead of material gifts can help cut down on clutter, waste and packaging and also help support small local businesses and services.
2. Ethical Shopping
If you have to buy new, think clean, green and ethical. Here are some lovely green gift ideas for adults and for children’s eco-friendly presents think natural, handmade and chemical-free. For friends and family that are charity-minded, fundraising/donation type gifts are a relatively new concept but make the ideal ethical gift.
I put together a hamper each year for parents and in-laws with local food and preserves from our local farmer’s market and farm shop. Buying your food shopping for the festive season and for Christmas dinner from farm shops/markets also cuts down on food miles.
3. Go Natural
Christmas can be a hectic and manic time so what better way to unwind at the weekend than to go for a walk in the countryside or your local park. If abroad in the colder climate, you can forage for pine cones, holly, leaves and berries and either lay them in the middle of your table or on the top of your fireplace to create a natural and biodegradable centrepiece. Natural decorations are free, compostable and look so much better than plastic! Remember that if you can decorate a Christmas tree with baubles you have the ability to arrange evergreens and holly. Check out creations on Pinterest to get you started.
Buy charity Christmas cards which are recycled or even better send an e-card. Alternatively, organise a workplace charity collection instead of sending work colleagues Christmas cards.
Avoid single-use wrapping paper and opt for reusable gift bags instead, if you have to use wrapping paper choose the non-shiny type as this can be composted after use and look for gifts with reusable packaging i.e. in gift baskets rather than those with lots of plastic packaging.
Being green is more than just recycling your rubbish or eating organic food. We are consuming more and more and our poor planet is buckling under the strain of it all. In plain and simple terms we have to actually stop buying and consuming so much and when we do have to buy things we need we should think carefully about our choices.
If you’re interested in similar articles or eco-tips by Kate Haines – see more at Greenfinder.