It’s officially that time of year again! The holidays are just around the corner and shopping season is in full swing. Gift guides are telling us what this year’s hottest presents will be and we’ve got a seemingly endless amount of social media ads telling us what to buy.
But why does it feel like the shopping season has come even earlier this year? Two words: Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving when brands have their biggest sale of the year and some stores become battlegrounds for shoppers to duke it over the last TV.
Every year Black Friday seems to start earlier and earlier. No longer reserved for after Turkey day, early bird sales mean this holiday is now starting at the beginning of November for some brands!
It’s no surprise that brands and consumers are eager to get Black Friday started as early as possible. What’s not to love? Discounts, holiday vibes and that feeling of scoring the perfect gift for your loved ones (or yourself!) at an unbeatable price. And now we can even get those same prices from the comfort of our own couch!
But here’s the harsh truth that those shiny holiday ads don’t want you to think about: Black Friday is toxic consumerism at its worst. From the incredible amount of waste to horrible environmental repercussions to plain old greed, there’s nothing jolly about Black Friday.
Why Black Friday Is Bad For The Environment
In fact, a report from Green Alliance stated that 80% of items bought during Black Friday sales will end up in the landfill, incinerated or, in the best case scenario, low quality recycling. And it’s getting worse every year. Amazon delivered a record breaking 1.5 billion packages over the 2020 holiday season. If we continue these trends, can you imagine the environmental impact 50 years from now? The holiday shopping train isn’t slowing down. Malls may not be as crowded as they once were, but online shopping has made it easier for consumers to purchase 10 of the same item from different brands, just so they can return nine of them. Unfortunately, most of those returns end up in the trash, rather than back on shelves, and don’t even get us started on carbon emissions from the transportation!
But we don’t want to take all the fun out of holiday shopping. We’re no scrooges over here. We love holiday cheer as much as the next people! After all, we’ve all got good intentions during this season. We’re out there looking for the absolute perfect gift for our friends and family. Something that they’ll love and will communicate how much we care about them.
We don’t want to take away the magic of the holidays completely. So instead of canceling the holiday season, we can all try to be a bit more sustainable in our shopping habits. Here are some ideas on how to make your holiday shopping a bit more eco-friendly:
Holiday Shopping from Sustainable Brands
We know the stats about the environmental effects of Black Friday can be kind of a bummer. But there are tons of brands out there that really do care about the planet - year round! If you do want to purchase holiday gifts for people on your list, we recommend doing your homework. Find out the who, where and how of your shopping. Who makes the product? Are they working in fair conditions and being paid a fair wage? Where is this product being made? Is it going on a round-the-world adventure just to get to you? Could you buy a local alternative instead? How is your product being produced? Are the materials, ingredients and manufacturing process as sustainable as they could be?
We know, we know, this sounds like a lot of effort! You don’t need to write a term paper on the production of one present. But just doing a bit of digging will reveal pretty quickly whether a company is putting in effort to be sustainable. And if you can’t find any information? That’s a red flag.
Here at TillyRuth we take our environmental impact very seriously. Sustainability is at the forefront of every decision we make. With our sustainable commitments, Carbon Neutral shipping, and 3 planted trees with every order, we make sure our practices encompass the true spirit of the holidays: kindness, giving back and building community.
Eco-friendly Holiday Presents
Shopping sustainably doesn’t always mean hitting the stores or going online to find the perfect gift. Sometimes you just need a pair of scissors and a little creativity! Here are some eco-friendly holiday gift ideas that everyone on your list will love.
DIY gifts are not only sustainable but they show the time and effort you put into creating something completely unique for your loved one. Bake your go-to secret cookie recipe or make a winter wreath from clippings from your yard. We guarantee the thoughtfulness of your gift will far exceed any store bought items.
Another sustainable holiday present idea is to give the gift of experience! Make a homemade gift certificate to have them over for dinner to try your world famous curry. Offer to take them on a day adventure out hiking or to your favorite local museum. Not only is this sustainable, but the memory of spending time together will last far longer than a physical item.
Boycott Black Friday
The other secret truth behind Black Friday that the stores don’t want you to know is, in reality, the sales aren’t even that good! Studies have shown that Black Friday sales are fairly equal to sales that occur throughout the year. However, the bombardment of advertising and the push of scarcity (ie. ‘these are flying off the shelves!’) trick us into thinking we have to go shopping immediately.
The Boycott Black Friday movement, where people are encouraged to skip Black Friday all together, is rising. Instead of spending the day mindlessly shopping on our laptops or getting pushed around in the store, we could be out with friends and family enjoying our holiday! Go outside, pack a picnic, take a hike or just curl up with a board game and cup of hot cocoa. All of those sound like better options to us!