Block Friday – Alternative things to do on Black Friday

Avoid the Black Friday frenzy with these infinitely more sustainable (and way more fun) activities.

It’s Black Friday – which for many people means spending money we don’t have, on things we don’t need, for people we don’t like (to quote Stephen Colbert in The True Cost movie).

Black Friday – or Cyber Weekend – has become the busiest shopping weekend of the year thanks to heavy discounts and targeted marketing campaigns.  But as highlighted in The True Cost, there is a human and environmental cost to this frenzied binge shopping and the waste generated and resources consumed. For this reason, many sustainable and independent brands including VejaSmalls and Henri London have actively chosen not to participate in Black Friday in the traditional sense to highlight the need to consume responsibly.

Other brands are using Black Friday for activism –  Christopher Raeburn and Asket are making a stand by not selling anything at all today, while O My Bag is donating all of its profits from this weekend to The Cup community café in Kolkata, while Woodlike Ocean – a brand that crafts swimwear out of Econyl® regenerated nylon – is raising its prices by 20% this weekend and donating the extra 20% raised to the Healthy Seas Initiative.

“Our planet is facing a serious waste problem. Our over-consuming and throw-away mentality are only making the problem worst. We need to pay better attention to the manner we consume goods and be very critical with the products we purchase. Let’s use these dates to contribute to creating a healthy planet and spread awareness around our environmental issues,” said Mauricio Palma, co-founder of Woodlike Ocean.

So while the lure of frantic bargain-hunting, long queues and packed out stores might be tempting, take a stand with us against Black Friday and think all of the great things you could be doing instead of hitting the shops today. Need some inspiration? Look no further…

Go Plogging

This Swedish term for litter picking while jogging was very nearly awarded the accolade of ‘Word of the Year 2018’ but was pipped to the post by the equally environmentally-themed ‘single-use’. Give it a go – you can run right past the shops while helping to keep the streets clean at the same time.

If jogging isn’t your thing, why not try stand-up paddle boarding or canoeing while cleaning the waterways of London – see Paddle & Pick or Plastic Patrol; or alternatively join a beach clean or river clean.  If you can’t find an organised event in your area, simply go out by yourself for a stroll and help to clean up our streets and waterways.

Take a Digital Detox Day

After reading your Eco-Age weekly newsletter (not a subscriber? Sign up here), switch your phone off and take a digital detox for the day. Avoid all phones and screens – and therefore all Black Friday temptations – and take a day off scrolling through Instagram and replying to Whatsapps and emails.  Just think of all the extra time you’ll gain!

Wear something you haven’t worn in a while

Rather than heading to the shops today and buying something new, look at your wardrobe with fresh eyes and wear something you haven’t worn for a really long time.  Wardrobe full of #30wears items? We feel you – if you’re feeling uninspired with your own closet then raid your flatmate’s, partner’s, sibling’s, or even your parents’… just try not to spill your dinner down anything you borrow.

Learn to Sew or Knit 

What better day to learn a new skill that will mean you will (almost) never have to buy new clothes again than Black Friday.  Take a sewing class or workshop and learn to repair and upcycle your own clothes. Or try Wool and the Gang’s DIY knitting kit and knit yourself a new jumper or crochet some gloves. The possibilities are endless!

Finish reading this month’s Eco-Age Reads

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book, so if you haven’t finished this month’s Eco-Age Reads book Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and other lies by Scarlett Curtis now is your chance. 

Watch The True Cost

Break your self-imposed no-screens rule to watch an inspiring and eye-opening documentary like The True Cost. Already seen it? Check out our other recommendations for life-changing documentaries to watch.

You Do You Day

Cool your jets – do nothing at all. We’re not judging…

Choose Love

If you just can’t shake the urge to splurge today, do it for a good cause. Head to the Choose Love pop-up which opens today in London, New York, and online. Shop to your heart’s content and buy real products for refugees in desperate need. You’ll leave empty handed but filled with love.