November 24, 2021 3 min read

Black Friday is an annual shopping event where businesses offer huge discounts, luring crowds of people to get the best prices on products they didn't even know they wanted.

We've grown accustomed to watching buyers battle for cheap electrics and other half-priced goods since the UK adopted the American discount event in recent years. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been chastised by many for inciting excessive spending. In 2021, British adults are expected to spend a total of 4.8 billion pounds across the country.

The Problem With Black Friday

For a single event, Black Friday generates a staggering amount of waste, with up to 80% of purchases, including their plastic packaging, ending up in landfills, incineration, or low-quality recycling if you're lucky.

Online shopping has exploded in popularity in recent years, accounting for 27.3% of all retail sales in the United Kingdom, resulting in a massive amount of packaging. According to a DS Smith analysis, 60% of e-commerce deliveries feature packaging that is either one-quarter air or full of difficult-to-recycle plastic fillers and polystyrene to fill empty space, meaning larger boxes, therefore more delivery vans on the road.

Electronics are the second most popular item on Black Friday, which is a significant concern for older appliances. According to research published in August 2019, 75% of households prefer to chuck out and replace faulty appliances with newer models rather than sell or recycle them. Participants were confused about where to take electrical devices for repair. This lack of awareness could be one of the reasons for the 1.4 million tonnes of electronic waste discarded each year.

We often make impulse purchases on Black Friday due to the pressures we face - thinking you won't get a discount like this again – resulting in purchases we later regret. On Black Friday or Cyber Monday, 21% of Britons made a purchase they later regretted, with 1 in 3 buyers returning items after the event.

Returns are an issue in and of themselves: in the United States, five billion pounds of returned goods (about 2.3 metric tonnes) are shipped to landfills each year, with just 20% of these products actually being defective, according to Optoro.

What We’re Planning To Do Differently

Instead of offering discounts that will promote unnecessary consumerism, we’re doubling down on our donations to the Marine Conservation Society, fighting for a cleaner, better protected, healthier ocean.

Over 70% of our planet is covered by water. It absorbs about a third of our carbon emissions and delivers more than half of the oxygen we breathe. We are constantly contaminating our waters, ruining valuable habitats, and causing harm to the animals that live there. This is reducing the ocean's potential to aid in the fight against the climate crisis.

Since partnering with the MSC, we’ve raised almost £5,000 for their urgent work to protect and restore our oceans. This Black Friday, we’re tripling our current donation per order, and we’re increasing our customer donation match to £10.

These donations will be used to decarbonise our economies and bring our carbon emissions down to net-zero (carbon neutral) as soon as possible. This will be done through:

  • Rewilding large swathes of our seabed to protect and restore marine and coastal habitats and marine wildlife populations and increasing the ocean’s ability to lock away millions of tonnes of ‘blue carbon’ and ‘fish carbon’.
  • Reducing the world’s plastic and chemical footprint to improve the ocean’s health.
  • Ensuring that everyone understands the crucial role the ocean plays in helping us fight climate change so we can all be much kinder in how we treat it.

Join us this Black Friday to put your money towards supporting vital work that will protect and restore our oceans.


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