Slow down the shopping spree: How to have a greener Black Friday

By Mesha Mittanasala | Photographer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … for retailers.

This Black Friday, consumers are expected to spend $148 billion on in-store and online purchases. Everyone loves Black Friday — standing in hour-long lines for a 50% discount, getting your workout in while walking through the mall and leaving with 12 bags of new outfits at 3 a.m. But are you really going to use all those appliances and wear all those clothes?

According to a study done by the research organization Purnell, 80% of Black Friday purchases quickly end up going to landfills or being burned in incinerators — along with their plastic packaging. Even though the majority of that waste comes from the plastic packaging, some of it comes from unopened and unused products that were bought due to the attraction of a good bargain.

This is really important to consider when we look at the waste we produce at Waco. Over the last five years, the amount of trash entering Waco’s landfills has increased by 25%. As of August 2022, the capacity of Waco’s current landfill had only two or three years of life left, and the city of Waco is creating an even larger landfill. While the population of Waco continues to increase, it’s imperative that we take into account the amount of waste we produce this holiday season. We can’t let our consumerist appetite pollute our city.

So, what are some ways to have a greener Black Friday?

1. Create a shopping list

Make a list of the things you need and the things you are looking to purchase for your friends and family for Christmas. This will help you to make a budget and not overspend.

2. Shop from green, ethically sourced brands

Do some research before you hit the mall. Look for companies that prioritize their workers’ well-being and have an environmentally friendly supply chain. Look for companies that make their products from recycled materials or have recycling initiatives. Certain ones may reward you for being eco-friendly. For example, if you are looking to replace your Ikea furniture, Ikea will buy back your old furniture.

3. Recycle packaging and donate items you are replacing

If you are planning on renewing your closet, donate the clothes that you don’t see yourself wearing to charity. Make sure all cardboard boxes and plastic wrapping end up in the recycling bin.

As you add things to your cart, ask yourself, do you really need a pink toaster with strawberries on it if you have a toaster in your apartment that works really well? It’s time for Black Friday to be greener.