Green America outlined the top four reasons why American consumers should avoid big box stores and massive online retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The four reasons detail the biggest human rights and environmental problems facing some of America’s favorite household products and the companies that produce them.
“This year, Green America encourages you to skip shopping on Black Friday,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Green America. “When it comes to Black Friday and the issues with major retailers, we’re not buying it and neither should you. Instead, consider supporting certified green businesses in your neighborhood or online.”
Green America’s top four reasons to avoid shopping on Black Friday include:
- Waste: It’s not wasteful to buy things that you need—warm winter boots, a new computer when yours can’t be repaired, toys and books for growing kids. What’s wasteful is buying way more than what you need or can use. Presents that end up in the trash next year or fall apart after a few uses just aren’t worth it. One aspect of voting with your dollar is choosing not to spend when you don’t need to. We think some of the best gifts are the gift of experience, that have no waste—like a dinner at a favorite restaurant, a concert, or gift certificates for services you can give, like baking or babysitting.
- Dirty energy: Did you know Amazon, the world’s second largest company, is still largely run on fossil fuel power? There’s also the climate impact of materials, like plastic for toys, cobalt for phone and computer batteries, and all sorts of clothing materials that can have negative impacts on the planet. When you can, buy local products made from sustainable materials to reduce your climate impact.
- Sweatshop labor and worker abuses: From fashion to phones, most items sold on Amazon or in big box stores and department stores are made by people in factories across the globe who are paid far less than what their labor is worth. Even in the U.S., retail workers make far less than the cost of living and retail and warehouse jobs around the holiday season can be punishing to the point of being dangerous. What’s worse, an estimated 152 million children are victims of child labor, making anything from rugs to chocolate.
- Toxic chemicals: Conventional clothes, furniture and tech gadgets often have toxic chemical finishes that provide stain-, water-, fire-, or wrinkle-proofing, or make the manufacturing process easier, and have been linked to health effects like hormone disruption and cancer. The effects of these toxins are the most serious for workers in factories or opening boxes in retail stores. Read more in Green America’s Detox Your Closet issue.
Find certified green businesses locally and online that are an alternative to traditional Black Friday/Cyber Monday retailers here.
The featured businesses have earned Green America’s Green Business Certification to ensure they are dedicated to building an economy that works for people and the planet.
Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization.
Founded in 1982, Green America provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems.
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