Black Friday has long been considered a tradition marking the start of the holiday shopping season, inspiring consumers to fill their carts and to take advantage of low prices on the items on everyone's wish lists. The anticipation builds leading up to the big day, as deals are revealed through TV commercials, print ads and social media, including savings on big-ticket items. Despite the excitement of holiday bargain shopping, it is still important to keep in mind the environmental impact your purchases can have.
Environmentally friendly behavior starts with buying decisions. Consider shopping online; this increasingly popular option is considered by many to be a greener shopping alternative as goods are often stored in and shipped from one central location, reducing fuel consumption. Online shopping can also reduce emissions caused by driving from one Black Friday sale to another. If you can't find what you're looking for online, or if you prefer a hands-on shopping experience, you can still be eco-friendly by carpooling with friends. Public transportation might be another option for going green during Black Friday if you are only planning to buy a few things that can easily be carried. When driving, make sure to take the usual precautions to reduce fuel consumption, such as driving the speed limit and idling less.
You can also be thoughtful and make sustainable decisions about the items that you buy. Look for electronics and appliances that use less energy by checking for the ENERGY STAR® mark. ENERGY STAR certified products use less energy than standard models, saving you money on your utility bill while helping to protect the environment. There are also new “smart” products on the market that can help you both make your life easier and save energy such as connected LED light bulbs and smart thermostats.
Another eco-label to look for is EPEAT. EPEAT-registered products are rated on more than 50 environmental performance criteria regarding design, production, energy use, product longevity and recyclability – with ongoing, independent verification of manufacturer claims.
You can also reduce waste by using rechargeable batteries in the electronics you purchase. When buying toys, look for those made from long-lasting and natural materials. While it isn’t always a feasible option, consider toys that can be recycled. You can create a greener shopping experience on Black Friday by bringing a reusable shopping bag from home.
Check out these links for more helpful hints on eco-friendly shopping:
- Is Online Shopping Really More Eco-Friendly?: See how online shopping compares to traditional in-store shopping.
- Driving More Efficiently: Learn ways to drive more efficiently by reading this guide from the U.S. Department of Energy. Each tip includes the fuel economy benefit and equivalent gasoline savings.
- Green Machines: Eco-Friendly Electronics: This how-to shopping guide provides guidance for choosing environmentally friendly electronics.
- Recycling Made Easy: See what types of electronics, appliances, and other items you can recycle, and check out links to additional recycling resources.
- Go Green on Black Friday: Visit the EPA's Our Planet, Our Home blog for advice on how to make green choices while Black Friday shopping. Advice on toys, batteries and electronics is included.
- Being Green on Black Friday: Get Black Friday green tips such as shopping online, using public transit and buying products more environmentally friendly.
- Energy Star: Check out the list of products that are Energy Star certified
- Sustainability at Best Buy