Quantcast

5 Ways to Enjoy Black Friday Without Destroying the Planet

We're going to assume you didn't rush your family and friends through the holiday meal so you could line up at a local big box story to save a few dollars on a small appliance you don't really need. But before you go out shopping at all, here are a few things to stop and think about, with an emphasis on reuse and recycling.

Thrifting not only saves money and promotes environmentally friendly reuse, it's an adventure!
Photo credit: Shutterstock

1. All those sales sound great, but the whole psychology is to make you buy things you don't really need just because you're impressed with how much money you're saving. It's easy to forget you're saving more money if you don't buy the product at all! That $50 you save on the new TV isn't much of a savings if you don't really need that new TV. Before you shop, stop and think about what you do and don't need, and also realize that there's always another sale around the corner. No matter what they say, this is never your "last opportunity."

2. Shop thrift and vintage. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' amusing hip hop hit "Thrift Shop" last year did more than just make us smile; it also helped make the burgeoning trend of thrifting even more mainstream. Thrift stores have lost their stigma as being a place where only poor people shop and have taken on the aspect of a treasure hunt. Sure, there's a lot of polyester junk but spending time hunting down that unique item you'll never see at the mall is part of the fun. Vintage is a little more expensive because the shop owner has already hunted down and culled the quality stuff. But it's still usually cheaper than buying new, and both are eco-friendly because you're recycling what otherwise might have been discarded.

3. Instead of shopping at all, throw an impromptu swap party this weekend. Surely you've got a few friends aching to get together with understanding pals after spending too much time with that Tea Party uncle ranting about ebola-carrying immigrants (He heard about it on Fox News!) Have each one bring over an armload of clothing and accessories that don't quite fit, don't flatter them or that they're just tired of—they probably already have a bag in the garage they haven't gotten around to dropping off at Goodwill. Spruce up the holiday leftovers with some fresh veggies and clean out the fridge while you're at it, and invite your friends to do the same.

4. Join a Buy Nothing Facebook group. The movement, which has thousands of members and growing, takes the barter economy online. You post anything you have to share, lend or give away on your local Buy Nothing page, and/or ask for anything you'd like receive or borrow. It can be services like rides to the airport or home repairs, items you no longer need (or maybe you're looking for a part for a broken appliance), or people to share your latest culinary creation with. The main rule is that no money changes hands. The goal is to reduce consumption through sharing and reuse; a side benefit is connecting like-minded people who want to decrease their contribution to the waste stream.

5. It's been estimated that as much of a third of all the food in the U.S. is wasted, ending up in landfills producing climate change-causing methane emissions. Don't contribute. You know some of those leftovers will never get eaten so don't spent a week looking at them every time you open the fridge and then finally throw them away. It's time to start that composting project you never got around to. It's not hard and it's really not "icky." You can make a compost container or buy an inexpensive one (you don't really need one of those fancy tumblers) and recycle both your kitchen scraps and yard waste. The rich compost will give your garden a jumpstart in the spring.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

How California's 75 Percent Recycling Goal Will Create Thousands of Green Jobs

Are You Making These 7 Common Recycling Mistakes?

A Look at the Sustainable Chicago Restaurant That Recycled and Composted Everything for 2 Years

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Emily Deanne

Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.

Read More Show Less
Kokia drynarioides, commonly known as Hawaiian tree cotton, is a critically endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. David Eickhoff / Wikipedia

By Lorraine Chow

Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Frederick Bass / Getty Images

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A couple works in their organic garden. kupicoo / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristin Ohlson

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A competitor in action during the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland on April 9, 2001. Michael Steele / Allsport / Getty Images

Greenland is open for business, but it's not for sale, Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters after hearing that President Donald Trump asked his advisers about the feasibility of buying the world's largest island.

Read More Show Less
AFP / Getty Images / S. Platt

Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.

Read More Show Less
Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

Read More Show Less