Trying to navigate through the cost of living crisis at Christmas is a challenge that many of us face. Therefore, it’s no surprise that as Black Friday approaches, millions of us search for the perfect bargain to help us save some of our hard-earned money. Black Friday has become so popular that in 2022 it was reported that we spent a whopping 8.71 billion pounds on the sale with that amount predicted to increase in 2023.
While it is always great to save some money, the consequences of impulse shopping on such a large scale can lead to devastating environmental issues such as the rise in plastic waste and CO2 emissions.
Green Friday - Less Stuff, More Trees
At Friendly Soap, we have decided to opt out of the Black Friday sales and instead, we have chosen to do something a little different, something that gives back to the environment rather than taking away from it. That’s why we are hosting our own ‘Green Friday’, where we will be donating ten per cent sales through our website to the amazing team at Forus Tree. We will also be offering 10% off to all of our customers who want to help support this cause. To take part all you need to do is to use the code FORUS10 at the checkout.
Forus Tree is a workers' cooperative and a not-for-profit social enterprise with over 20 years of tree planting experience. Their aim is to mitigate the effects of climate change and restore biodiversity in the Calder Valley and beyond.
Read more about the importance of the work that Forus Tree carry in our blog post here
The Issues With Black Friday
Although it’s easy to see the appeal of buying heavily discounted gifts and gadgets just in time for Christmas, it’s important to pause and reflect on the impact that buying on such a large scale will have on both people and the environment.
So while we might feel like we have snagged ourselves a deal, we have to ask who pays the real price?
The Environmental Impact:
According to the Green Alliance, up to 80% of items purchased on Black Friday, are thrown away after a only few uses, some without being used at all. This significantly adds to the millions of tonnes of UK plastic that is sent to landfill every year. This waste is often shipped to developing countries, where it is recycled in unsafe and environmentally harmful conditions.
In addition, it was reported that in 2022 1.2 million tons of CO2 were released due to transporting goods around Europe. That’s 94% higher than an average week
The Impact On Small Businesses
Black Friday may be perfect for most retail giants, but it can also have a negative impact on small businesses. In particular, independent businesses can't offer the same size of discounts that large retailers can give. Independent shops rely heavily on the festive period to keep their businesses afloat and when they are drastically undercut, it makes it nearly impossible for them to compete.
Stress and Impulse Buying:
With so many limited-time offers and with Christmas around the corner, many of us feel the pressure to find the best deals before they’re gone. However, it’s this kind of stress that often leads us to shop impulsively, causing us to buy things we don’t want or need. Not only is this bad for our wallets but after the temporary novelty of these items has worn off, they often eventually find their way to our waste bins, and then eventually landfill
Poor Working Conditions
The immense pressure on manufacturers to up their production of goods can lead to exploitative working conditions. Workers endure long hours, low pay, and unsafe workplaces, especially in regions with poor labour laws.
The pursuit of Black Friday bargains can inadvertently support companies involved in unethical practices, perpetuating a cycle of exploitation.
Choosing a Greener Path
There are many ways that you can opt out of the traditional Black Friday without feeling like you are missing out. The main issue caused by Black Friday is the overconsumption of items that we didn’t really need in the first place.
Choosing to take part in Green Friday isn't about missing out; it's about making mindful purchases and supporting ethical businesses. It means opting for brands that steer clear of plastic, use eco-friendly packaging, and choose ingredients that aren't harmful to the environment.
At Friendly Soap, we're proud to do things differently. We're seizing this chance to make a difference by supporting Forus Tree and their remarkable environmental work. It isn't just about changing the way we shop; it's about reshaping this yearly shopping spree by turning it into a movement that champions sustainable choices and nurtures the environment rather than harming it.