Make Black Friday a Buy Nothing Day


Black Friday, buy nothing, young couple sitting in window looking

Black Friday: make a conscious decision to buy nothing.

Retailers and marketers everywhere can thank the Canadians for this killjoy idea that fights for the environment: instead of buying more than you can afford on Black Friday, you get Buy Nothing Day instead. We started writing about Buy Nothing Day in 2008. 

The slogan goes like this:

“Every November, for 24 hours, we remember that no one was born to shop – we make a small choice to participate by not participating.”

This year any way you slice it, has posed unprecedented challenges to humanity: from COVID-19 related infections and restrictions to elevated stress levels and an increase in plastic waste.

Consider that Wuhan, the original COVID-19 epicenter, experienced a massive rise in medical waste, from 40 to 50 tons a day before the outbreak to about 247 tons on March 1st. Other urban centers all over the world, from Kuala Lumpur to London, have experienced the same increase.

The effects of this pandemic have already been referenced as a “major setback” in terms of environmental progress of recent years. The exponential use of disposable medical masks is another type of waste, actively adding up to the overall planet pollution.

Many retailers and coffee shops stopped permitting users to bring their reusable cups.  Restaurants had to switch to takeout delivery (more plastic!) and supermarkets doubled down on plastic packaging to make products look more “safe.”

The year 2020 is asking us for resilience. On top of that, it is important to be conscientious and cut down on unnecessary spending to not add more waste to an already enormous pile of waste that is poisoning our planet. We already love second and

Did you have those feelings during lockdown that the way we were living was spinning out of control? I remember the freedom of buying nothing, having nowhere to go, nothing I had to become. 

Canadian artist Ted Dave started Buy Nothing Day in Vancouver in September but it’s now celebrated on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving and is considered a day for society to assess our overconsumption problem.

Today, over 65 countries have already joined the celebration, calling for consumers to contemplate Black Friday madness and consider creating a more sustainable lifestyle of buying less and producing less waste.

It doesn’t take much to celebrate Buy Nothing Day. You basically don’t buy any more junk you don’t need. Abstaining from shopping is a significant contribution. Spreading awareness through personal channels like social media or microblogs is also a great idea so that more people learn about this initiative and consider participating themselves. Donating a share of the money that you were going to spend on Black Friday sales to an environmental organization will directly help our planet and surely make you feel good too.

Even consumer-facing companies can stand up to the idea of buying nothing, or buying less but buying better.

Made with Respect, a sustainable not-for-profit online, believes that this year it is more important than ever to be conscious of purchases of new clothing, choosing sustainable materials, and being mindful of waste and recycling.

babaa handmade sweater

Karin Kloosterman in a babaa sweater

Other brands we love? Reformation which uses deadstock materials, Aluma Handmade for smaller batch no-waste stylish handmade clothes, and babaa in Spain, for their sustainable wool sweaters


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