Black Friday: The Ethical Way

by Deborah Anderson

It’s that time of year again when we start the unofficial countdown to Christmas. We put our trees up, stick on our fave festive films and listen to Wham’s Last Christmas on repeat – (no? Just me?) With just a month to go until the big day, it also means that Black Friday is approaching too. Held on the Friday after Thanksgiving (27th Nov this year), it started in the US and was where shops would give massive discounts for one day only, over time, spreading to other countries, online and to the following working day for Cyber Monday. Yes, it’s great to get a bargain but in our consumerist society it can be very harmful, even more than getting an elbow to the nose fighting to nab the last plasma screen TV in the shop.

The environmental impact that Black Friday has is huge. Think excessive plastic packaging, CO2 emissions from manufacture and delivery and an incredible amount of waste going to landfill, not to mention the damage that can be done to our bank accounts when we buy loads of things we don’t want or need, just because it was “a good deal”. It’s not a good deal if you’re going to get buyer’s remorse i.e. “why on earth did I buy this?” Even when Black Friday is over, the damage doesn’t stop there. Returning items just adds to the carbon and air pollution problem and many returned items, especially clothing, are incinerated or disposed of in landfill. It’s clear that Black Friday brings with it a huge amount of environmental issues and the most sustainable thing to do is to boycott it.

BUT, if you do want to get some bits tomorrow, it doesn’t make you a bad person! We've all had a tough year and of course you want to treat yourself - there's nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you're buying things for the right reasons! Black Friday encourages: over-consumption, overspending and throwaway culture. When we take these elements away, it can be a useful way of getting what we need/want whilst saving a few pennies. Here are some things to think about so you can take advantage of Black Friday, instead of it taking advantage of you (in the most ethical way possible!):

  • Before you lose hours of your life scrolling through endless deals, ask yourself “do I actually need anything?” Without looking on any websites, write a list of things you need and try to stick to just those things. If you do end up seeing something that’s not on the list – challenge yourself. “Do I really need this?”, “Would I have wanted this if it wasn’t cheap?” “Will I love it for a long time to come?” “Can I afford it?“Asking yourself these questions should stop any panic-buying mentality that you may have.
  • Use Black Friday as an opportunity to get your Christmas shopping done. Similarly, write a list of all the presents that you’d like to get people (you can find the Sustainable Christmas blog post here) and stick to the list!
  • Ever thought about switching to eco-friendly alternatives such as a moon cup or reusable cotton bud? Because they are reusable and often ethically made, they can be slightly higher in price which can lead to hesitation to buy. Black Friday can be the perfect time to take the plunge on such items!
  • Remember that not only big-corporate companies give discounts on Black Friday. Although a lot of smaller, independent businesses refuse to take part in Black Friday, often they do give small rewards to customers for shopping small that day so go check out your favourite independent brands’ websites/social media channels. Many of them will have suffered this year so your orders could be a lifeline for them! We may even give a sneaky discount so keep your eyes peeled ladies!
  • Get a discount on an experience or ticket that you want to go do or see! Instead of buying physical things that have to get made, packaged and delivered (and that can end up in landfill), buy a gig ticket or a spa day for cheaper than normal. Have something to look forward to when all of this Covid business is over!
  • If you’re all ready to spend money on Black Friday, instead of shopping why not donate the money to a charity of your choice? It will make you feel good while you’re doing good for the planet.
  • Buy from businesses that try to offset the carbon footprint! One Wear Freedom is in partnership with One Tree Planted. For every order placed with us, a tree will be planted somewhere around the world in your name meaning you can look and feel amazing. You can look through our gorgeous and guilt-free collection here!

 I hope we’ve given you some things to think about before tomorrow! By doing these things, you’ll feel better about your buying decisions and will hopefully be doing the planet a favour too! Don’t let the craziness of Black Friday get to you – just buy what you need or as the Spice Girls say, what you really really want and try to be as sustainable as you can.

Follow us on Instagram and don’t forget to join us tonight at 8pm for our Virtual Games Night. Buy a zoom ticket here and you can win prizes as well as get an exclusive first glimpse of our new winter collection! What a way to liven up a Thursday night!


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