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Make Black Friday a Little Greener

Black Friday a.k.a. the day after Thanksgiving a.k.a. one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  Stampedes, traffic jams in parking lots, and BIG sales.  I've never been one to brave the shopping crowds; I always devoted the day after Turkey Day to alternating between stuffing my face with leftovers and lying on the couch in a carb and tryptophan coma, but Black Friday is incredibly popular.  Over recent years, there's been a Black Friday backlash and Adbusters dubbed the day Buy Nothing Day

Obviously, shopping on Black Friday is not the eco-friendliest way to spend a day.  But, let's say you wake up the morning after Thanksgiving, pumped up on adrenaline and ready to shop 'til you drop, that's cool, too.   How can you make your Black Friday shopping spree a little greener?


- Consider waiting until the following Monday to partake in Cyber Monday.  Cyber Monday is the online equivalent of Black Friday and it occurs the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Sometimes retailers will also offer Black Friday deals online, so look for those!

- Take public transportation or go to stores within walking distance of your home.  Not only is this greener, but it will probably save you the aggravation of navigating a mall parking lot.  If you don't live in an area that's walkable or one with public transportation, carpool with your family or friends!

- Don't forget your tote bags that you take to the grocery store!

- If you drive, don't leave your car idle in search of a close parking spot...no matter how cold it might be outside!  Park a little further and just walk.  Those mall parking lots are crazy on Black Friday, so it might even save your sanity, too. 

- Don't go to chain stores.  Support your local businesses and also try to buy locally made goods.  Maybe you won't get the amazing Black Friday deals on these items, but it's so important to support your local economy and buying locally made products cuts down on emissions from shipping.

- Buy "greener" options.  If you're buying a big ticket appliance like a fridge, go for the Energy Star one.  

- Don't buy junk.  Sure, that plastic figurine might look cute and it's 50% off, but is it really necessary?

- Don't buy gift cards.  They're plastic and they won't decompose.  If you do want to buy someone a gift card, buy one on Amazon.   You can either email it to the recipient or print it out on recycled paper so it won't be sitting in a landfill indefinitely like a plastic gift card.

This was originally posted on Keen For Green on 11/9/09.