MADRID – The name Black Friday can be taken more and more literally. The annual post-Thanksgiving mass shopping day celebrated across the Western world has become more and more a black day for the planet.
Originating in the United States, and driven by inevitable commercials harassing us from all sides, we consume until we are dizzy. The promise that we will feel better after the purchase of product x or service y makes us pull out our credit cards again and again.
On days like Black Friday, there is usually a big build up and we race to the shops because we don’t want to miss out on that big discount. However, do we actually need product ‘x’ or service ‘y’ anyway? Or do we end up buying all kinds of things that we don’t actually need because the chance of a 50% discount is too good to pass up?
Do cheap Christmas shopping
Others use Black Friday for what it is primarily intended for: cheaper Christmas shopping. And that is certainly understandable in a year like 2022. Driven by inflation and a worryingly reduced disposable income, many people feel compelled to cut back on everything. In this scenario, high discounts are more than welcome.
Apart from the normal periods of sales and days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, our usual consumption behaviour is already being stimulated considerably because almost all products have a limited shelf life. Some items seem to be made to break after a few years of use. Think of household appliances or electronic gadgets such as smartphones and tablets. Most clothes don’t survive longer than one season anyway. And that is already enough, because trends change after a month or two. After which garments no longer in fashion disappear to the back of a wardrobe.
Because nothing may cost too much and everything has to become cheaper to stay ahead of the cutthroat competition, people and resources elsewhere in the world are being exploited and slowly but surely exhausted. Add to that the massive emissions associated with all that production.
Abolish Black Friday?
The fact that our consumption behaviour is not good for the earth is a science that more and more people are beginning to understand. It now appears that a third of all Dutch people think that Black Friday should be abolished. This discount feast can no longer be reconciled with the current zeitgeist and focus on sustainability and energy saving.
Buy Nothing Day and Green Friday
The Buy Nothing Day and Green Friday initiatives have existed for a few years from the same kind of awareness. The first is a nice counterpart that motivates us not to buy anything at all on Black Friday and in some countries the day after on Saturday. The second encourages us to buy consciously. First of all only buy something if you really need it. And then choose organic and sustainable products and companies.
InSpain.news has listed 12 things with which you can turn Black Friday into a Feel-Good and also Green Friday and which help the world move in the right direction a little bit.
Don’t buy anything
A clear statement against Black Friday is not to buy anything at all. For example, use the time you would have spent in one queue or another to think about your buying behaviour for the rest of the year. What do you really need and which things do you buy out of impulse, out of a kind of instant gratification or need to feel better? There is a difference between needs and wishes. Do you really need those extra jeans? Is it really necessary to replace your mobile phone now? Will your life be different if you don’t buy that cosy throw for your couch?
Buy sustainably sourced items
“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” A nice saying that you can use as a guideline for your buying behaviour this Friday. Are you spending your money on a piece of clothing assembled somewhere by people under questionable working conditions? Or do you spend a little more money for a sustainably produced outfit that also lasts longer?
Fix Things: MAKE SMTHNG
It is known that buying without thinking accounts for 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That is why initiatives such as MAKE SMTHNG, in addition to sustainable shopping, also want to stimulate reuse by giving products a second life. Under the heading of MAKE SMTHNG (make something), reference is made to the possibility of repairing special things and making unique things from recycled material. It is an international movement of events where people learn more about the circular economy, challenging consumerism and its impact on the climate.
Sell your old furniture to Ikea
Under the motto ‘Take care of more than just your wallet this Green Friday‘, furniture giant IKEA allows customers to sell used IKEA furniture back to IKEA in exchange for a cashback card. The Swedish furniture chain takes care of the resale of the furniture and gives it a new life. IKEA Family members will receive an additional 50% off the regular buy-back price between 18 and 27 November 2022.
Plant a tree
Under the heading of Green Friday, there is also the initiative that says ‘no’ to Black Friday deals and gives trees back to the earth instead. More than 100 companies have joined the initiative. This means that if people buy a product there, the company ensures that an x number of trees are planted for it. In this way, the consumer gives something back to the earth instead of just taking it.
Also read: Give a tree
Adopt a dog or a donkey
Instead of spending your money on material things, think about what intangible things you can do with it. Wherever you live in Spain, the nicest and cutest dogs or cats are waiting for a new owner and a better life in overcrowded shelters. Give those animals a chance at a nice life far away from cold concrete floors, endless barking and small, wired pens. No matter how well they are often treated and cared for by the managers, having their own home and loving family is much better. In southern Spain, there is also a shelter for neglected donkeys: Refugio el Burrito, where you can adopt a donkey. Fortunately, you don’t have to have them on your balcony or house them in your bedroom. But wi adoption, you help the shelter to offer the animals a dignified shelter.
Entirely against the excesses of fast fashion, you can exchange clothes. Swap events are organised regularly in many places. You go there with a bag full of clothes that are still good, but that you no longer wear, and exchange them for other people’s unused items. Often the leftover garments are donated to a charity shop.
Buy second-hand clothes
If you find yourself in need of a new outfit for the holidays, consider exploring the second-hand clothing market. You might still associate that with musty-smelling shops in back streets where you can buy a blouse for a few pennies, but things are different these days. Second-hand clothing is hip. Take a look at Vinted, for example. The largest second-hand online clothing store in the world. Just like on other clothing sites, you can search by size, brand, type of garment, colour, etc., but then everything is second-hand and uploaded by the users themselves. In fact, you can take a look at an endless, virtual wardrobe with unused (brand) clothing from thousands of people all over Europe. Not only that, you can also upload and sell your unused items yourself.
Another option is to take a look at charity shops. Various charities run second-hand (clothing) shops and use the proceeds for the relevant charity. For example, the Debra and Cudeca Foundation.
Also read: Spaniards are buying more and more second hand goods
Choose a sustainable experience
Why should you buy things when you can also invest your money in memories? They are sustainable anyway because they always stay with you without any negative impact on the world. Take your loved one out for dinner or call a friend to catch up. If you want to do it entirely in the spirit of the anti-Black Friday movement, choose a vegan restaurant that only uses organic, plant-based and local products. Be surprised, because vegan food is much more than chickpeas, lentils and raw vegetables.
Transfer your money to a sustainable bank
It may not be the first thing you think of around Black Friday, but the money that you store at a bank is invested by that bank in companies. Let these also be companies that are not guided by sustainable choices at all. Ethical banks do. They invest in companies that protect ecosystems and natural habitats, plant and animal species and genetic material. Think of Triodos, which is now not only located in the Netherlands and Belgium but also in Spain.
Donate groceries at the ‘Gran Recogida’
Instead of going on a bargain hunt, you can also buy extra groceries and donate them directly to ‘Gran Recogida’. This is the large food collection campaign of the United Spanish Food Banks (FESBAL). It is hoped to collect 21 million kilos in donations. Food can be donated in bags directly in almost all Spanish supermarkets. But people can also deposit money, for which food is later purchased. Thousands of volunteers participate in the campaign. The organisation expects a good response from the Spanish population. As it turned out, they always respond positively to these types of campaigns from the Food Bank. Click here for more information.
Take a walk and pick up plastic
You can also use Black Friday as an excuse to spend a day in nature. Find a nice walk and promise yourself to enjoy it very consciously. For an extra conscious touch, bring a bag in which you put any rubbish you encounter along the way.