Black Friday and Cyber Monday are among the most polluting shopping days of the year, we shouldn't try to evade or hide the fact: overconsumption generates an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, waste of materials and clothes sales that soon will end up in a landfill. Since the 1950s, the day after American Thanksgiving has been considered the official start of the Christmas shopping season. The expression itself indicates the day when retailers would finally turn a profit, going from 'in the red' to 'in the black'. In recent decades, this first day of Christmas shopping has been increasingly characterized by massive discounts, long shop opening hours and online sales. In addition, it has become increasingly popular worldwide and has expanded from a single day to a weekend and even a week of discounts. 80% of everything purchased during Black Friday sales will end up in landfills, incinerators or, at best, in low-quality recycling, often after a short life. More than half of shoppers are expected to buy electronics and almost 1/3 buy clothes during Black Friday sales.
The fashion industry is a major contributor to environmental destruction. The damage comes in two parts: production and waste, and the bottom line is the more we buy, the more waste we produce. Textile production accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than international aviation and maritime shipping combined. Textiles equivalent to the volume of a garbage truck are sent to landfills or incinerated every second. Additionally, the fashion sector is believed to be the second most impactful industry worldwide in terms of water pollution and consumption. Synthetic textiles are the main source of primary microplastics in the oceans: it takes 200 years for polyester to decompose, and it’s the same microfibers which account for an astonishing 85% of all man-made debris washed up onshore. After we buy those clothes, most of them are dumped after only being worn a few times, with less than 1% of the material used in clothing, recycled into new garments. In the absence of a circular economy, the reports found that 4/5 of plastic and household textiles are disposed of in landfills or incinerated. Meanwhile, almost all electronic waste goes to low-grade recycling, where it enters the waste management system. Add to that the materials and natural resources used for packaging, along with the carbon emissions from transport, and it soon becomes obvious that every step in the process of clothing production is damaging to the environment.
WHY IS THE BLACK FRIDAY OF ''DISCOUNTS AT ANY COST'' UNSUSTAINABLE?
Because the thirst for fast fashion has nothing but increased in the last years. Before buying, ask yourself why you feel compelled to buy new clothes, ask yourself how many times and with what other items you already have are you going to wear it. Compared to 15 years ago, the average person buys 60% more items now. 30 % of people report getting rid of their clothing in less than 2 years, and 76 % will get rid of an item in 5 years or less.
Because waste is not going anywhere. Clothing production has more than doubled from the 2000s. 80 % of those are not recycled and sit in landfills or are incinerated. Do you want to keep contributing to that?
Because the environmental impact of this way of production is unsustainable for people and the planet. The cities where most of these garments are made have the highest rates of cancer, infertility, polluted rivers, and corroded agricultural land, according to multiple studies.
Events like Black Friday encourages people to buy things they don’t need, only to be discarded soon after. It’s facts like these that highlight how the Fast Fashion phenomenon is damaging the environment. Hopefully, the entire production chain, from design and manufacturing through to shipping and disposal will all change dramatically over the next decade. The question is: are you ready for it?
JUST A FEW TIPS
Analyze what you already have so that you don’t fall into impulse buying. Do you really need it?
Purchase items that are sustainably sourced and produced rather than products made from virgin plastics and fossil fuels. This will reduce potential plastic pollution and reduce carbon emissions
Support those brands that are contributing to sustainability: shop with sustainable retailers. By doing this, you will increase the demand for sustainable products, encouraging more retailers to rethink their eco-friendly offerings
URKELL GREEN FRIDAY IS ON WHEELS
Our vision about the future of fashion is buying things we’ve thought about carefully and we’re prepared to make last, rather than on a whim and because something is on sale. We support a forward-thinking model to buck the Black Friday trend and empower people to choose quality over quantity. To support in a bid to give back to the community and discourage excess consumerism becomes fundamental whether you’re a brand or an individual.
Therefore, we have decided not to provide discounts for Black Friday ’22, but to donate a percentage of the purchase orders to Dario Franchi & Oliver Kašpar fundraising. Two guys who decided to embark on a crazy journey by bike, from Florence to Cape Town, to prove that zero-emission intercontinental travel is possible. - check our Urkell Journal to learn more about them -. The goal is, as far as possible, to turn the Black into Green, since their adventure is meant to be a message of sustainability: to show how much can be done with a bicycle, a 0 emissions vehicle, and to shout out against wasting, as they travel with the bare essentials.
From 18th to the end of November, during the entire Black Friday week and up to Cyber Monday week, 15% of every purchase made through our e-commerce will finance their zero-emissions bike trip to Cape Town.