Should Black Friday be banned?

Black Friday weekend is now the time of year when we are encouraged to spend, spend, SPEND. Consumers are told to grab an 'amazing never-been-seen-before, will-never-be-seen-again deal before the sale ends on Cyber Monday. The shopper rage is enough to put you off Black Friday for life. Over the past few years, the truly devastating effects of Black Friday have come to light and many consumers turning away from the tradition. Is stopping Black Friday the solution?

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is traditionally the Friday immediately after American Thanksgiving. The BBC reported Black Friday's name comes from its association with retailers moving "into the black" i.e. turning a profit. Now, it is something incredibly different. Black Friday through to Cyber Monday ( the Monday after Black Friday) is a hotbed for bargain-hunting shoppers who can save a great deal on pretty much anything. From 2014, Black Friday Weekend sales have become a core part of the UK shopping calendar and it looks like it isn't stopping any time soon.

The problem with Black Friday

The frantic buying seen during Black Friday has been claimed to encourage overconsumption and materialism according to Dr Diana Ivanova, a research fellow at the University of Leeds' Sustainability Research Institute.

Although there is little evidence on the environmental and social impact of Black Friday, experts have reported these to the four areas where Black Friday is most harmful:

  • Manufacturing of products

  • Packaging, plus added packaging used for shipping

  • Delivery of the item

  • Wastage and lack of recycling of existing products

Zachi Brewster, an environmental strategist for environmental rewards app Earth Rewards told Bustle "it’s easy to see that the footprint of these single items is much bigger than it first seems. Their journey, existence, and impact exist long before they even arrive at our doors and many of them will outlive us, ending up in our oceans or buried underground." Moreover, the ever-growing demand for products to be created ultimately falls on the shoulders of many adults and children working in sweatshops, who work in awful conditions for such little pay.

How we can change it

Many brands are consciously changing their stance on Black Friday to support and promote charitable causes and raise awareness of important issues. That’s why this Black Friday we are donating 100% of all our profits to the Sakhi Project. The Sakhi Project have created revolutionary machines that can employ women to make and sell their own sanitary pads. Moreover, the project strives to educate young girls and boys on menstruation to eliminate period stigma and change harmful cultural norms. To find out about our Black Friday Weekend campaign click here and get involved!

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