But Black Friday has become all about consumerism and getting a good deal - it’s almost become competitive. Who can get into the store first? Who can get their hands on limited quantities of sale products before they’re out of stock?
The problem is that Black Friday encourages people to buy things they don’t need just to take advantage of a sale - and many of the most popular products sold on Black Friday are pretty harmful to the planet.
To help counter the harm and rampant consumerism of Black Friday, a lot of people (including me) are calling on shoppers to embrace Green Friday instead.
Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of Green Friday. A lot of people haven’t. The idea is still new in places like Australia, where it got started, so it doesn’t surprise me you haven’t heard of it here, where Black Friday is even bigger.
The good news is, now that you know about it, Green Friday should be easy to participate in this year. Here’s what you need to know:
What Is Green Friday?
Green Friday is a way to counter the consumerism of Black Friday. The goal is to think about how your purchases and buying decisions can impact the planet while also being mindful of how you shop and what kind of products you will buy.
No, I’m not going to tell you not to buy anything on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, either. Green Friday’s goal isn’t to stop people from purchasing things - but rather to change what you buy and why you buy it.
For Green Friday, you can make a point of buying from stores or companies that are eco-friendly or donate a portion of their proceeds to green initiatives. That way, at least some of your spending money goes to offset the eco-cost of consumerism.
Of course, just buying from eco-friendly retailers isn’t the only goal.
Another goal of Green Friday is to think about whether you really need the things you’re purchasing. No one should get in the way of grabbing a good deal, but if you’re anything like most shoppers, you were probably planning on buying at least one or two things you really don’t need this season.
Instead of buying just because something is on sale, try to stick to only the items you actually need for Green Friday. If it ‘sparks joy’, to borrow a phrase from Marie Condo, it should go on your list. But if you’re only buying it to see if you’ll like it, or because you don’t value it enough to pay full price, it might be better to skip it.
The last goal of Green Friday is to be mindful of how you’re shopping. We’ve already talked a little about mindfulness in terms of not getting items you don’t need or won’t use, but what about how you shop?
Do you think about the environmental cost of shipping? What about using reusable bags if you’re going to local stores? How about carpooling with friends or family to reduce the amount of gas you use?
Minor changes to the way you purchase can add up to make a big environmental impact, which is what Green Friday is all about.
Of course, asking yourself these questions will probably also get you thinking about the environment and the environmental impact of what you’re buying long-term, not just on Green Friday. That’s one of the goals, too!
Tips To Participate In Green Friday
Here are a few easy tips so you can participate in Green Friday no matter what company you’re buying from or what your list looks like.
Advanced Green Friday-ers will, of course, be thinking about who they buy from and choosing items that are sustainably produced, but it’s okay if you aren’t ready to go that far your first year.
Here’s how you can make your Black Friday plans just a little more Green.
Make A Green Friday Shopping Plan
I know a lot of Black Friday shoppers are already all about the store strategy, but this can actually be a Green Friday tactic too.
Make a plan for which stores you want to go to and then a plan for how to get to each one. If you can, carpool or use mass transit to reduce the impact of your travel. The more people you go with, the bigger impact this makes.
You may also want to prioritize the retailers that support green initiatives or that offer the least-harmful products.
For instance, if you know a local boutique offers sustainable or locally-sourced clothes and jewelry made by artisans, they should go higher on your Green Friday priorities than the big box stores at the mall.
Another way to plan your Green Friday shopping is to make your route to stores as efficient as possible. Start with the closest stores and work your way out to the most distant locations so you don’t need to drive back and forth all day.
Bring Reusable Bags, Boxes, And Other Containers With You
If you’re planning on a lot of purchases on Green Friday this year, one way to make your trip a little more eco-friendly is to reuse bags, use reusable bags, and bring your own boxes or carrying containers for larger items or stores that don’t offer bags.
Costco is a great example of this, even though they aren’t a typical Black Friday shopping destination. They reuse the boxes their products come in as containers for people to put their purchases in. It’s a small thing, with little or no extra cost to them, but it has an environmental impact even so.
So if you have any boxes or reusable crates and containers lying around, why not put a few in your back seat or truck to hold this year’s Green Friday purchases?
See If Friends Are Going To The Same Stores
As part of your shopping or driving plan, consider reaching out to friends and family members who might be making the same stops you want to. The more stores you have in common, the better idea it is to carpool together!
Just try not to add too many extra stops in to fit more people in your vehicle. You need room to be comfortable, after all, and making those extra stops will make it harder to be mindful of your purchases and will reduce the overall benefit of sharing a ride in the first place.
Look For Eco-Friendly Shipping Options
If you’re shipping items instead of going to a physical store, especially on Cyber Monday and throughout Cyber Week, think about how you can make shipping those items more eco-friendly as well.
Amazon, for instance, lets you choose options to ship as many items as possible in a single container and to get all of your shipping on the same day. Both options reduce the carbon footprint of shipping.
Even better, look for retailers like Earth Song Jewelry that use sustainable recycled packaging and reduce the amount of individual packaging that comes along with your purchases.
Prioritize Eco-Friendly Retailers And Eco-Friendly Products
If you’re ready to go even further this year, that’s fantastic! Consider making some time to research which companies donate to green initiatives, offer eco-friendly products, pay attention to sustainable sourcing - and avoid companies that don’t.
It can take some work to find green companies, but here’s a tip, a lot of smaller local businesses do a better job with this kind of thing than the retail giants. If you don’t have time for research, shop small! Your dollars have a bigger local economic impact when you shop small local businesses anyway.
Otherwise, make a list of the stores you’re thinking about visiting, and then do some research to see what, if anything, they do to support environmentally friendly business practices. Let your research guide you on what you buy, which stores you prioritize, and how you work to make Green Friday better at reducing waste.
How Earth Song Jewelry Promotes Going Green
It would be easy to talk about Green Friday without actually putting my money where my mouth is, but I take eco-friendly business practices and sustainability seriously. My jewelry is inspired by nature, so it only makes sense to work to protect and preserve my source of inspiration.
Here are just a few of the ways I work to keep Earth Song Jewelry a green business, work to reduce my carbon footprint, and give back to sustainability initiatives.
- I use 100% recycled cardboard shipping materials
- I’m a member of 1% for the Planet
- As a Green Leadership Business Partner, I donate 10% of my proceeds to Conservation Colorado
- I'm a certified Carbon Neutral business and offset my shipping so your packages are also Carbon Neutral (via the CarbonFund Organization)
- I save, re-use and recycle all of the metal scraps from creating my jewelry
- I use 100% recycled Argentium and Sterling Silver in my jewelry
- I source my materials from providers that are also committed to sustainability and eco-friendliness
When I say I care about the environment and nature, I mean it.
Everything we do has an impact on the world around us, but I work hard to make sure Earth Song Jewelry has as little negative impact as possible and to give back to projects focused on carbon neutrality and which promote the rejuvenation of our natural world.
Stay tuned for my Green Friday deals… I hope you’re as excited as I am!