Nov 12, 2019

Green Friday vs Black Friday

Words by Cynthia Vanzella

How to avoid Black Friday frenzy and be a sustainable shopper

In the US, the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season - aka Black Friday. Since the mid-2000s, when online shopping began its ascent, local retailers in several countries have mimicked the discounts offered by the US on that day in order to remain competitive. Fast forward a few years and today Black Friday is an entire week of hysterical shopping around the world.

It didn’t take long for Black Friday to become a symbol of overconsumption and overproduction – having unthinkable negative impact on the planet, including the exploitation of natural resources and pollution.

Thankfully, in the past couple of years, a small, informal online movement has started to take form. Called Green Friday, the movement opposes Black Friday and the irresponsible consumption it entails, encouraging consumers to think and act sustainably.

This November, First Mile joins the movement to support Green Friday and promote responsible consumption that benefits the Circular Economy.

Here’s how you can join us during Green Friday weekend - and all year round really!


  • Mindful shopping

Today we’re probably all a little bit guilty of buying more than we need, and making less use of our purchases than we used to. Take clothing as an example: according to research from Greenpeace, the average person buys 60% more clothes every year and keeps them for half as long as 15 years ago – a tragic waste of resources and money, as the cost per wear of our items also increase.

Before going on a shopping spree, take a moment to reflect whether you really need that item and why. Is it a replacement? Can the old one be fixed? Can you picture yourself using that item more than once? If the answers are yes, yes and yes, try shopping for ethical and green alternatives.

  • Shop local

Shopping in your local area and buying from local producers is the easiest way to reduce the carbon footprint of our purchases while supporting small businesses.

Take a stroll around your neighbourhood during Green Friday weekend and discover unique products at family-run shops with personalised customer service.

Don’t forget to take your own bags and refuse unnecessary packaging. You can be creative and find eco-friendly alternatives to wrap your presents at home.


  • Charity shops

Local charity shops are often a wealth of hidden treasures. Enjoy discovering pre-loved items for a fraction of the original price. It’s a great way of reducing the demand for new products (and their carbon footprint) whilst supporting a good cause at the same time.

It’s also a good chance to declutter and donate anything you don’t need or use anymore.

  • Borrow or swap

The age of the sharing economy is nigh! These days, it’s all about swapping, or even borrowing, clothes and accessories.

Apps like Vinted, Swancy and Swopped make it easy to exchange your pre-loved garments with others online, while Regain gives you discount vouchers and coupons.

For DIY and gardening tools, travel, music equipment and a whole host of other items you might only need for a short time, apps such as Borroclub, Streetbank and Badlee offer a solution. If you'd rather visit a shop in person, the Library of Things in Crystal Palace is a nice option with an extensive catalogue of useful products that can be reserved online.


  • Recycled & recyclable

If you’re to buy something, opt for products made of recycled materials that can be recycled again. You minimise your impact on the planet, prevent waste from ending up in landfill and support the Circular Economy!

  • And then recycle some more

Regardless of our efforts, there’s always a bit of packaging that’s impossible to get away from. Worry not: simply make sure you dispose of them properly to ensure they get recycled. If you’re struggling to recycle a certain item, you can always return it to us via our RecycleBox service.

Do you have more ideas to promote Green Friday? Share with us tagging #GreenFriday and let’s make this season greener together!

By Cynthia Vanzella


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