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The Environmental Impact of Black Friday

What is The Environmental Impact of Back Friday?

Thanksgiving is arguably the most famous American holiday. Americans have a large feast with their families and stuff themselves with turkey and other delicacies. This post is not about Thanksgiving - though we plan on posting about it in the future - it's about the holiday the next day: Black Friday. Americans have celebrated Black Friday for decades now, and the tradition has spread across the globe. 

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is about consumerism. Stores lower their prices which is followed by mobs of shoppers wanting to buy as much as they can. The holiday is infamous for fights emerging over discounted products. Black Friday represents consumerism in the western world; today, Americans buy more material goods than ever before even though they are proven not to make Americans happier. Corporations have created new holidays to increase consumer spending as well. These include Prime Day and Cyber Monday.

Many people make lists of where they will go and when because Black Friday shopping without a plan is like canoeing in a storm without oars. Today is a holiday of chaos and a full embrace of consumerism. 

How does Black Friday impact the environment?

Black Friday is harmful to the Earth because of the waste it creates and the carbon emissions required to manufacture products. However, not everything bought on Black Friday is a physical good. In 2019, Business Insider looked into what their readers bought most on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The most popular purchase was a Disney Plus subscription, which isn't very bad for our planet. However, this may be attributed to the service's release just weeks earlier. The second item on the list is Parachute bedding, which, like you could infer, is a bedding company. I was surprised to see that the third item on Business Insider's list, a pair of Allbirds sneakers. Allbird's is an eco-conscious clothing company. The rest of the list is dominated by consumer goods. 

What does this all mean? While some products purchased on Black Friday and Cyber Monday have a minimal carbon impact, most have fairly large impacts. Packaging gets thrown out as waste, so it ends up in landfills or even in oceans, killing animals and marine life. 

The manufacturing process of goods releases fossil fuels into the atmosphere. Fossil fuel emissions heat the Earth and cause extreme weather and climate change. You can read more about the climate crisis in our post Climate Change - The Basics.

Final thoughts

Even though Black Friday can harm the environment, you can still go shopping and take advantage of deals. EarthPlex recommends considering the environmental impacts of what you buy so you can keep in mind how your purchases affect the planet.

I hope all of our American readers had a great Thanksgiving!

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