November 10th, 2011

4 Ways to Be a Green Consumer on Black Friday and Beyond

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Make Black Friday Green

This post is part of this months Green Moms Carnival -How to Be a Green Consumer- hosted by Betsy over at Eco-novice: Going Green Gradually.  The carnival goes live Monday, November 14, 2011.  Be sure to stop by for lots of great tips and  suggestions for becoming a greener consumer.

Black Friday, which falls the day after Thanksgiving, is the kick off for the holiday shopping season. We all know at least one person who lives for the Black Friday madness. You know who I’m talking about (maybe it’s you?): they set their alarm for the wee hours of the morning, wake up ready to shop and spend, and are mentally prepared to wait in long lines-all in the name of finding a bargain. I’m NOT a morning person, so Black Friday really has never been on my radar, but I do love a good bargain. I’ve been told by many that bargains await those that are willing to rise before the sun comes up.

Before you set your alarm this year there are a few ways to make your holiday shopping a little greener and your impact on the earth a little lighter.

  1. Bring your reusable bags. If you are planning to shop till you drop bring along those reusable bags and avoid plastic. Plastic bags end up in our waterways and landfills, killing wildlife and failing to decompose. It’s not an easy task to remember those reusable bags. I have two tricks: keep them in a visible spot like the front seat of the car and keep a few reusable bags that fold up into a pouch inside your purse or backpack.
  2. Buy locally made products. Support the little local business rather than the big box stores.  Go for gifts that don’t travel far to get under your tree.  Try finding a unique gift at a local antique or thrift shop.
  3. Avoid excess packaging. Look for products that don’t have much or any packaging.  There will be less to throw away and ultimately less ending up in a landfill. Think about buying products in bulk. Bulk products generally have less packaging materials which will cut down on excess waste.
  4. Make a list and check it twice. When you head out to the store make sure you are armed with a list. This will help avoid buying just for the sake of buying.  Give some thought to what you are purchasing and try to avoid impulse purchases. Remember, everything you buy effects the environment. Being a green consumer means not buying things you don’t need.

Let’s make it a GREEN Black Friday this year! What are your plans for Black Friday and other holiday shopping?

[Photo used under Creative Commons from John Henderson/Flickr]

20 Responses to “4 Ways to Be a Green Consumer on Black Friday and Beyond”

  1. I have three simple rules for all holiday gifts this year. They must be either handmade (preferably by me), vintage, or experiential rather than stuff-based (baking classes, fun workshops, shows, etc.). It might be tough to find things for the technophiles in my life, but I’m determined to try.

  2. My Black Friday will be green, no shopping for me! But I definitely have a lot of room for improvement in making my holiday shopping greener since I am a last minute online shopper. I will try to check out some local stores this year, but not at the last minute.

  3. I really struggle with holiday shopping. It just all seems too much. I don’t shop at all on Black Friday, though. (I’m not a fan of lines!)

  4. Love that photo – that’s what all the retailers are screaming! Great tips too!

  5. Love, love, LOVE that photo. You find the best photos, Lori! I also love sleep too dearly to ever attempt a black friday sale. I also dislike crowds, so there you go. I have been lured in by the occasional cyber monday sale though.

  6. Great post! I always forget to look for items with less packaging, thanks for the reminder! I am also guilty of buying things just to buy them, so the list tip will come in handy too! thx!

  7. Hi Tiffany-I find that it’s really hard not to get caught up in the “holiday shopping season”. The stores market to us and encourage us to buy just for the sake of buying. I think I need to bring the tips with me too as a reminder 🙂

  8. Thanks Betsy! I have to admit, I love searching for photos for my posts. Although, sometimes it takes longer then writing the actual post! I’ll be sleeping too this Black Friday-deep in REM while others are finding the bargain of their lives. Cyber Monday is much more appealing-shopping in your PJs!!!

  9. Thanks Micaela. The photo really sums it all up. Hopefully I’ll be sleeping while all the early morning Black Friday action is going down.

  10. Hi Sarah-I’m not good with lines either. The whole idea of Black Friday just doesn’t appeal to me. I also struggle with finding a balance during the holidays-I love to give and receive, but need to set boundaries.

  11. That is a VERY green Black Friday Marsha! I have to join you in the last minute, online shopping category. I wish I could plan better some years, but it just seems to sneak up so quickly. Hopefully we can both check out some local shops this year!

  12. I love your rules Betsy! Some of my favorite gifts have been experiential-museum memberships, cooking classes and other things we can do together. You’ll have to share what you end up getting the technophiles…..we all have some of those in our lives!

  13. Ugh, shopping. Just thinking about crowds makes my heart race. My first rule is to limit holiday gift-giving to family (friends get birthday gifts only). I also reinforce the idea that I don’t need folks to give me anything at this time of year. When I do buy, I make sure it’s something useful, or something I know the recipient actually wants, and I include a gift receipt so that nothing goes to waste. So far, it’s working out!

  14. Hi Andrea-I agree. Holiday gift giving can become much more overwhelming if you branch outside your family. I really like all of your rules for gift giving. We always check in with family members and ask what they would like. Sounds like you have your system down-so glad it’s working!

  15. Thanks Lori. Love the idea about supporting local businesses, which often have more unique items than many “big box stores.” Also, the tip about packaging is key and something to remember year round. Lets use what we buy, not bring it home and through out half of it ie package it came in!

  16. Hi Harriet-There are so many amazing local businesses out there and they truly need our support to keep their doors open. Sometimes my kids receive gifts and I am amazed at the amount of packaging the toy has. So much plastic and cardboard. I like how you phrased it: “Let’s use what we buy….” Having that awareness when we shop will guide us to make good choices in our purchases. Thanks so much for your comment.

  17. have to agree that black friday has never been on my radar either, the early am thing being part of it. i was also always skeptic of these big savings, as if somehow once i was out in it all i’d actually spend more!

  18. Hi Karen! I’m a little skeptical of those “savings” too. Are we really saving anything? I’m sure I would spend way more than I was saving. Another reason to enjoy more REM sleep!

  19. We slept in for Black Friday, it was awesome! We’ve made a few online purchases for things we would have bought anyways, but now with even better deals. We also published our green gift guide which has similar over all tips for greening your holiday shopping and 11 suggested gift ideas http://www.greenlifestyleconsulting.com/2012/11/jons-green-holiday-gift-guide-2012.html
    Jonathan Hunt recently posted..Jon’s Green Holiday Gift Guide – 2012My Profile

  20. […] Will you be out shopping with the crazy crowds this Black Friday? If so, keep these tips in mind on how to be a green consumer on Black Friday– Groovy Green Livin […]

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Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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