Black Friday might be an adopted tradition from America, but it's become embedded in British culture with a distinctly British twist; everyone complains about it, but then we still give in to temptation by searching for deals online and spending a lot on items with ‘manufactured’ discounts.
According to the latest data, British people are planning to spend around £6 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. Many of these purchases will be made online due to COVID-19 shopping restrictions, but this won't stop us from searching for a bargain. Online shopping actually making the buying process quicker and easier than ever before.
While online shopping is very convenient, we need to ask ourselves if we really need to be buying so much. This is where Green Tuesday comes in.
Green Tuesday is an alternative to Black Friday, and comes the Tuesday following the Black Friday date. This means that this year, Green Tuesday will be on Tuesday the 1st of December. This comes at a great time this year, as it's just one day before the end of the UK lockdown.
This shopping event has taken the UK and some other western countries by storm and it can be a great way to do your Christmas shopping, especially if your wishlist includes tech items. Being a savvy-shopper is a good thing, but it can be easy to grab items that you'll regret later and hoard at home.
For tech items in particular, such as mobile phones, these are built from a long list of raw materials mined in some developing countries and sadly, these manufacturing processes cross the sustainable line, as more emissions are created than the product will emit during its useful life.
The connection between the planet and tech production might not be immediately obvious, but using and choosing environmentally conscious smartphones is a great way to reduce emissions and money at the same time. All it takes to establish a mindful tech shopping habit is to ask yourself the following question: "What impact is my purchase having on the environment?"
With every unboxing of a brand-new gadget, there’s an older piece of tech being replaced and hoarded in UK homes. In fact, a recent survey carried out by the Royal Society of Chemistry found that UK households hoard millions of unused electronic devices, and 23% of people surveyed have a mobile phone sitting idle somewhere in their home. Instead of relegating your old mobile to a drawer, or worse sending it to landfill, think green and get involved this upcoming Green Tuesday. Green Tuesday is your small-step-big-difference approach to tackle the growing mountains of discarded devices, recoup some of your spend and offset your carbon footprint.
Below are some key ways to play your part in the Green Tuesday initiative:
Even though tech items might be on offer, the purchase will set you back quite a bit, and more importantly, the hidden environmental cost is far greater than you think. So if there’s no genuine need for a new phone or tablet, keep the one you already have.
One of the biggest changes you can make this Black Friday is to shop for refurbished gadgets. Amazon and other retailers have their own ranges of refurbished smartphones and tablets which are almost identical to brand new devices, but with a smaller carbon footprint and lower price tag.
All those gadgets we replace get left in a drawer with a feeble excuse that they might be used one day, but chances are you won't. Even worse, they can end up on a landfill site releasing hazardous materials that will pollute soil and water. Additionally, when you leave your mobile phone in a drawer for a long period of time, it'll depreciate in value as each day passes. Instead, choose to recycle your unwanted phones, tablets and other electronics this Green Tuesday. This is something our planet and your bank account will thank you for.
Everyone is different and the second-hand market might not be for you, but don't let this deter you from shopping for tech in a greener way:
Choose a Low-carbon Internal Storage Capacity
Higher storage capacities are one of the reasons devices have a higher carbon footprint, as the more memory is built-in, the more integrated circuits are required. Models with higher capacities are also the most expensive in the product line-ups.
Smaller Device Means Fewer Resources
From Apple’s environmental reports, we know that it takes more resources to manufacture bigger devices and it generates more emissions too, so go for a basic model when buying a new phone.
Choose a Phone That Will Last
Slim, all-glass phones have a premium feel look great, but they aren't practical. Avoid slippery finishes and remember that if you want to keep your phone for longer with minimal damage, a nice grip is a must-have.
Avoid Next-Day Deliveries and Purchase Multiple Items at Once
Next-day or two-day deliveries mean that companies don't have as much time to organise the efficient transportation of multiple items. There may be more trips for less cargo and items might even have to be flown into the UK from another country to arrive in time. Also, try and organise your purchases in less orders as they can be grouped and delivered together.
If a product has caught your eye, try finding the same one in stock at local retailers to collect after the lockdown. While your items will still need to be delivered to that store, they won't have to go as far, plus they are unlikely to need to be flown to reach your doorstep.
The majority of our environmental problems are rooted in our levels of consumption and tendency to throw things away. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals already underway, we have to remember to be mindful. Green Tuesday isn't about changing your consumer behaviour for just a day, but rather it's about striving for a more sustainable relationship with our tech overall and adopting a mindful habit of giving your unwanted tech a chance to be refurbished, reused or recycled.
Green Tuesday is about making a commitment to shopping for tech on Black Friday with less of an impact on the environment and being more responsible with what you no longer find useful.
Cover image by Mert Guller on Unsplash
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