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

American bison roaming Badlands National park, South Dakota. Prisma / Dukas / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

By Clay Bolt

On Oct. 11 people around the world celebrated the release of four plains bison onto a snow-covered butte in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

Read More Show Less
An EPA sponsored cleanup of the toxic Gowanus Canal dredges a section of the canal of industrial debris on Oct. 28, 2016 in Brooklyn. The Gowanus is a Superfund site from years of industrial waste spilling into the water, and it is listed in GAO's report to be at risk from a climate disaster. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis / Getty Images

The climate crisis has put at least 945 designated toxic waste sites at severe risk of disaster from escalating wildfires, floods, rising seas and other climate-related disasters, according to a new study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
Rob Greenfield pictured above is driven by the concept of "living a life where [he] can wake up and feel good about [his] life." Rob Greenfield / Facebook

For one year Rob Greenfield grew and foraged all of his own food. No grocery stores, no restaurants, no going to a bar for a drink, not even medicines from the pharmacy.

Read More Show Less
Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store. VioletaStoimenova / E+ / Getty Images

Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store, the company announced on Friday. The removal of the apps comes after thousands of people across the country have developed lung illnesses from vaping and 42 people have died.

Read More Show Less