How Black Friday Negatively Impacts The Environment

Consumers may be saving, but it’s at the cost of the environment The biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, has a profoundly negative impact on the environment,...

(Photo Source: mcsweeneys.net)

Consumers may be saving, but it’s at the cost of the environment

The biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, has a profoundly negative impact on the environment, according to experts at the Sierra Club and other environmental action groups. As customers shop for steep discounts at big-box stores and malls, they consume huge amounts of plastic and other pollutants, researchers say.

“As companies slash prices for the kickoff of the holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, shoppers overconsume electronics, plastics and fast-fashion apparel–and our planet ultimately pays the price,” Dropps.com reports.

Online shopping might seem more eco-friendly, and many consumers have started scoring deals on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving. But the amount of waste produced by all that shipping packaging might be just as bad, or worse, for the environment. And plastic toys and packaging aren’t the only offenders. Environmental experts say cell phones and other electronics purchased on Black Friday are frequently discarded within a year, contributing to an epidemic of “e-waste.”

“Smartphones, TVs and laptops are some of the most sought-after deals on Black Friday, and many of those purchases filter into the fastest growing waste stream on the planet: electronic waste, or e-waste for short. The Basel Action Network notes that e-waste contains toxic components such as lead, mercury and bisphenol-A (BPA); when electronics are disposed of improperly, these toxins can leach into the soil,” Dropps.com reports.

What can eco-friendly consumers do instead? For starters, they can consider skipping Black Friday shopping and contributing to Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Giving Tuesday encourages people to focus less on shopping for themselves, and more on donating to charitable causes and giving to people in need.

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