All across the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is renowned for the hordes of shoppers that start lining up outside stores in the early hours of the morning. This day of shopping represents millions of transactions but it also accounts for much more. Think about how many people hop into their cars and spend the day driving around to stores. Imagine too how much waste is generated in the heaps of plastic and paper wrappings that are quickly discarded at the end of the day. To a single person, it may not seem like much, but when we multiply this by several million people, it makes a tremendous impact. Shopping responsibly is the way for us to turn Black Friday into a green, eco-friendly day.
Braving the long lines of traffic and then having the car idle while waiting for a parking spot is no fun at all. Worse still, it creates a good deal of pollutants. There are several ways in which we can avoid this but still enjoy a good Black Friday shopping trip. First, find out which stores will be offering the same in-store deals on their websites. It will be a much quicker and more pleasant experience to shop online, and it will save time, money, energy, and pollution. What about stores that only have in-store sales? Taking public transportation or carpooling with friends are a couple of alternative options that also help the environment while allowing you to shop more freely. If stores are close enough, why not walk or bike over?
At the stores, the types of purchases that people make are equally important in terms of environmental impact. Try to find products that that are made from recycled or biodegradable materials. For example, several book publishers now only print books made from recycled paper. In terms of appliances and electronic devices, check for items that are rechargeable or energy-efficient. They should have the Energy Star logo on them if they are verified efficient machines. Another tip is to look for products that use minimal packaging. After all, if the box and plastic wrappings are going to be thrown away, why pay extra for them and add to the landfills? When it is time to pay, use a green credit card whenever possible. These are credit cards where a portion of each transaction that a customer makes goes towards support for green charities or causes. Finally, pack all of the new purchases into reusable shopping bags instead of reaching for a pile of plastic bags.
Contrary to many mistaken opinions, going green on Black Friday doesn't necessarily involve inconvenience or any great efforts. However, these few simple choices can make a world of difference, especially when we practice them en masse. Spread the word to family members, friends, and co-workers and have them join in the green effort on Black Friday. As more and more people start to change their habits, it will become readily apparent that it is a worthy change that will benefit all of us.
Get a headstart on green shopping tips for Black Friday with some of these resources.