Black Friday....sustainably and ethically?
Another Black Friday approacheth! You’re in probably one of 3 camps when it comes to how you feel about this...
1. Yes!!! I can’t live and do holidays shopping without my 95% off deals!!!! I’ll be the first in line at every store (while adding things into my cart simultaneously online via my phone!)
2. Black Friday and holiday consumerism is death to our society-_-. I refuse to partake in this heathen ritual.
3. Meh. I might do a little shopping here and there, no big deal.
Whichever camp you belong to, Black Friday has been a continually growing holiday over the last few years and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon so we decided to weigh in on it and let you know our thoughts on the matter.
First off, let’s cover some definitions. What exactly is meant by these terms “sustainable” and “ethical”?
-Sustainable: According to Oxford Dictionary, the term basically means “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.” When thinking of product consumption, this means asking yourself does the product I’m using have packaging, practices, ingredients and a disposal plan that is able to be maintained for the long run? Will this product/ingredient/practice put so much pressure on the environment that future generations will not be able to sustain this practice or product?
-Ethical: Once again, according to our friends at Oxford, this word is simply defined as “relating to moral principles”. When considering products and consumerism, it is imperative to find out if there are A. Humans being harmed to create this product (unfair labour wages or practices, unfair trade) or B. Animals being harmed so this product can be created. Either of these would violate the moral code and therefore a product or practice that doesn’t adhere to refusing to harm humans or animals cannot be deemed as ethical.
There are many people who disdain Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the often consumerism mentality of the holidays, and honestly rightly so. It is so much more important to focus on family, friends, love and things that truly matter rather than obsessing over gifts. There is nothing wrong with those who choose to refrain from consumerism, who oppose Black Friday and what it stands for, and who wish to embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle with less waste and definitely less consuming. We applaud those who make this choice and stand with you. That said, when it came to choosing whether to participate in sales or not, we decided we would. Sale prices offered during these events can often provide people who wish to try shopping small business, local/sustainable/ethical, etc. a chance to purchase at a reduced cost. Many people who refrain from shopping from these types of shops or businesses do so because of the cost. Let’s face it, producing products that are sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical are much more costly than a giant factory mass producing products for Wal-Mart. Studies have shown that higher income areas are more likely to adopt a shopping pattern of buying ethically and sustainably, simply because they have the resources to better make this happen. With that said, we will be having some great sales to offer new buyers a chance to try some of our lovely products which we stand by with confidence knowing they are both sustainably sourced and handcrafted with an ethical approach.
Want some more ideas on how you can shop responsibly this year?
Idea 1: Try shopping LOCAL. When you choose to shop in your own country, and especially your state/province/city, you are investing back into your own community. Global trade and commerce can be great and isn’t going anywhere, but if you have the chance to reduce emissions by choosing closer shops and also to invest into some local artisans, then definitely try it out!
Idea 2: Shop SMALL. (And I’m not just saying that because my last name is Small, wink wink). Rather than flocking straight to the big wigs who undeniably will offer some pretty amazing deals, instead consider purchasing from a small, family owned business. Not only are you probably supporting a wonderful family, most small shops have a much smaller ecological footprint, and generate much less waste and toxins than larger factories and stores.
Idea 3: Do your shopping with MINDFULNESS and INTENTION. This year, don’t just buy stuff because it’s on sale or it’s “such a great deal!” Choose items that will truly be used, and that are of good quality that will last. Unwanted, unneeded and cheap quality gifts contribute to a large portion of excess waste. Consider items that are packaged in recyclable, compostable or biodegradable materials. That way you won’t feel as yucky when the garbage bags keep piling up and you will have items that you or your loved ones can truly cherish.
Idea 4: Don’t participate in the shopping and have a HANDMADE Christmas! We will be releasing our downloadable DIY scrubs recipe list next week and would love you to try out and gift some of our awesome scrubs! Check back next week for that.
So where do you stand in all of the holiday hullabaloo? Have an idea for a more sustainable or less waste holiday season? Comment below!
Creator of Earth Realm