Black Friday’s ‘enormous environmental impact’ sparks a green backlash

(Inside Climate News, 29 Nov 2022) We’ve all heard the horror stories of Black Friday.Fueled by the promise of discounted merchandise, the Friday after Thanksgiving remains one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with online sales this Black Friday hitting a new world record of $9.12 billion.

The consumer-frenzied tradition—whose nickname comes from the economic phrase “in the black,” signaling a company has become profitable—also has a reputation for bringing out the worst in people.

Stuck in massive lines and competing over limited products, customers who participate in Black Friday sales have been known to camp out overnight in front of stores and even get into physical fights over products. In 2019, one fight caught on video shows two Marines exchanging blows in a Walmart in California, resulting in at least one broken nose.

But a growing number of retailers, including some major international brands, are opting out of offering Black Friday discounts, pointing not only to the annual tradition’s tendency to spur ugly customer behavior, but also to its “enormous environmental impact.” Other businesses are offering alternative takes on the Friday shopping holiday aimed at promoting a more circular economy, where products are used for longer before being recycled back into the marketplace in some way rather than simply becoming trash.

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Inside Climate News, 29 Nov 2022: Black Friday’s ‘enormous environmental impact’ sparks a green backlash