‘Tis the season — for shopping! For many North Americans, the day after the American Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, more commonly known as “Black Friday.” The day’s name originated in the 1960s and it marked the point at which retailers began to turn a profit, or be in the “black”; this year Black Friday is November 29, 2013.
But what does this day mean for the regular shopping enthusiast — SALES, and loads of them! Over the past several years, retailers have pushed the limits, opening at midnight and staying open for 24 or 48 hours straight, with crowds lining up by the hundreds to save a few bucks on the latest tech gadget. Sounds fun doesn’t it?
I am all for supporting the economy, so what if this year we decided to stay on this side of the border and have a Black Green Friday? Go out and support our Canadian economy!
I enjoy shopping, and I’ll be the first to admit that I shop for “wants” over the “needs” all the time. But I know that my environmental footprint can be much smaller if I stay local and make smart eco-conscious shopping decisions.
Here are some shopping basics to help make your “Green Friday” a successful one:
- Prepare to be hungry and thirsty. Pack healthy snacks and beverages in reusable containers. This way, you’ll not only avoid the long lines at food courts, but you’ll avoid all the waste that comes with them.
- Pack your bags. Bring your reusable bags — say “no thank you” with a smile when turning down a plastic bag — you are saving landfill space!
- Carpool or take public transit. It will make finding a parking spot that much easier, and you will reduce your fuel consumption.
- Shop around. Go for quality over quantity. If 12 pairs of low quality socks that will get holes in a few months are cheaper than three pairs that will last years, buy the three pairs! You will reduce your waste in the long term.
- Remove packaging at checkout. Look for items that don’t have a lot of packaging on them. Ask the retailer if they will recycle the packaging for you.
- Support local. Read the labels, see where the items you are buying are coming from and think of the environmental impact of getting that item from point A to point B.
- Email your receipts. Some retailers will give you the option to have a receipt printed, or to have it emailed to you. Emailing the receipt not only reduces paper use but also can help you stay organized with all your money management.
We all love a good bargain and it’s not practical to say we shouldn’t buy any items if they aren’t made local. But shopping local helps our economy. Do some shopping in Halton’s many downtown shopping districts — support local retailers and businesses. A new Premium Outlet just opened in Halton Region; the first of its kind in Canada. It added 800 jobs to the community. A lot of retail stores in Canada have also embraced Black Friday sales right in our own backyards.
Grab those reusable bags and have a successful Green Friday!