Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Some of you may be spending today working, but most of you have probably taken an early vacation and are awaiting the Black Friday rush. With around $10 billion to be spent in one day, Black Friday is a tremendous occasion that will promote sales and help boost our economy. On the other hand, with more than 200 million participants in the unofficial shopping holiday, Black Friday will likely have a negative impact on our environment. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some tips on how you can “go green” on Black Friday.
Shop Online: Let’s face it. You won’t be the first person in line at the big box stores, and if you are, you’re likely having to push and shove the shoppers around you so you can get to the item you want. Is that really the shopping experience you want? That sounds pretty stressful. Shopping from the comfort and convenience of your own home is a great way to be green. This will reduce your gas emissions and promote air quality. On the consumer side of things, you will avoid traffic and get a lot of the same great deals without having to be stressed and literally pushed around.
Public Transportation: OK, if you really have to go out there and face the crowds, the least you could do is use public transportation. This will reduce your carbon footprint because buses emit 80% less carbon monoxide and are 91 times safer than the average car. If the shops are close enough, you might consider walking or biking. Many shopping areas pile the stores on top of one another to make shopping an easier experience. Little do developers know, or maybe they do, that this urban planning promotes sustainability. We talk about this in greater detail during our LEED training.
Environmentally Friendly Products: When you are purchasing items, try to find the green alternatives. Any electronic devises with the Energy Star label is certified to preserve the environment (and save you money!). Also look for products that have been made from recycled or eco-friendly materials. There are plenty of items out there that have been made from organic cotton or recycled plastic. These products were made with fewer, or sometimes no, toxic chemicals. Lastly, many retailers are promoting the use of reusable bags. You purchase a fairly cheap bag during one visit to the store, and you continue to use that bag every time you shop. This certainly cuts down on packaging waste.
A lot of people want to lose their heads when they go shopping on Black Friday. They’re the ones waking up at 2 AM and coming home with bruises (or sometimes not the items they set out for!). Don’t let the Black Friday hysteria get to you. There are numerous ways to be environmentally conscious when you shop. Keep these suggestions in mind, and you’ll likely end the day with the items you wanted, while also saving money and the environment.