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Make Black Friday green again

Black Friday, also known as “the day after Thanksgiving”, has grown into one of the busiest shopping days of the year. In the Netherlands, the population of Black Friday has grown rapidly in recent years, so a lot of retailers and stores join it and give huge discounts on this day to strive for profitability. This “discount culture” does not only drive overproduction but also harms our planet.

This is why, this year, the UvA Green Office provides you with some ideas and a few tips which help to make your Black Friday a little greener:

It is the Gift Experience that matters.

Instead of buying physical products to our beloved ones, we can choose to give meaningful things, such as movie tickets, museum cards, fitness membership, which not only make our life better, but are also friendly to our planet.

Impulsive Buying? No way!

It is hard to deny how attractive those discounts look like. BUT, do we really “need” the products? Asking ourselves how we are going to use these products and why we need them before buying items impulsively, please make yourself aware that “necessity” and “desirability” are two totally different things. So the motto for this year: If you don’t need it, don’t buy it! Be pocket-friendly to yourself and eco-friendly to the earth. We promise, you won't regret it!

Hence, the best solution is, of course, not to go shopping at all and skip the deals on Black Friday.

What If I really can't resist or I need to buy things on Black Friday?

Here are some simple tips to spend your money more sustainably this year:

1. Choose sustainable and friendly brands:

Especially when shopping for new clothes, it is crucial to know its textiles and dyes and make sure the producers of the clothes are paid fairly and treated ethically.

But how do we distinguish sustainable from unsustainable clothes? First of all, we can check the materials. Sustainable clothes should be made from linen, hemp, tencel fabric, silk, organic cotton or any natural materials, such as wood or bamboo. Additionally, we should avoid buying leather clothes or accessories since using animal products for fashion is not ethical at all. Also, animals, such as cows, need a lot of lands, water and food (many rain forests have been compromised). During their lifetime, loads of greenhouse gas are emitted and harm the atmosphere.

Secondly, we should be aware of anything made too far away. There is scary saying which states that by looking into the rivers in China, we are able to find out what the popular clothing colours will be in the next year. To add clothing dye, usually toxic, to the fabric, fixatives made from chromium and aluminium are used a lot. Those elements will end up in the rivers without being properly disposed. As a result, plants are killed, the ecosystem is destroyed, and our drinking system is polluted. Therefore, we should pay attention to the dye and do not buy anything that is made too far away.

Thirdly, we should say NO to Fast Fashion! Fast fashion brands keep their price down by compromising environmental regulations and their workers’ right, the basic living wage. Instead of contributing to a system that produces clothes while harming our planet in extreme ways, we should never buy unnecessary stuff only because it is cheap.

2. Support Local Business.

By purchasing local products, we can avoid additional shipping and hence contribute to less carbon emissions. At the same time, it boosts the local economy and makes sure the producers of the products are paid fairly.

3. Using reusable wrapping for gift.

Always save up materials like ribbons, dust bags, boxes and jars, and reuse them when you are going to wrap a gift. Making our handmade wrapping by using what we already have can show our sincerity and send a strong signal!

4. As always, bring our own bag.

To reduce unnecessary waste, we should always bring reusable bags ourselves when shopping. No matter whether this is your first “GREEN” black Friday or not; we should always pay attention to our consumer habits and improve them step by step. Buy less, choose well and make it last! Don’t forget to spread the sustainable message to your friends and families. We are all responsible to make our planet a little better.

Keen to find out more?

Do you also want to share your sustainable tips with us? Do you want to know more about helping our planet? Follow us on Instagram @uvagreenoffice for handy tips about living a more sustainable lifestyle, and checkout @plasticfreeamsterdam and @littleplantpantry if you’re looking at reducing your plastic consumption. Last but not least, try looking at your plate as an opportunity for daily action! We can continue to help the planet by abstaining from meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Follow @veganfoodinstagram to find out where to eat in town.

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