Be waste conscious and ditch Black Friday say campaigners

The Gwener Gwyrdd (Green Friday) movement returns, encouraging shoppers to be waste conscious with their shopping choices

Shoppers take to Cardiff's highstreet, look for ways to embrace Gwener Gwyrdd (Green Friday)
Shoppers take to Queen Street in Cardiff
Photo Ashley Thieme

Cardiff’s centre is traditionally busy with shoppers looking for bargains on Black Friday. As always, it is just in time to get that all important Christmas shopping done.

The environmental impacts of Black Friday are concerning though, as research from the University of Leeds suggests most consumer purchases will end up in landfill. The figures from The Green Alliance, a charity promoting greater political support for the environment, claims: “Up to 80% of plastics, textiles and electronic goods would go to landfill, incineration or low quality recycling.”

This is why campaigners in south Wales are urging Black Friday shoppers to be environmentally conscious and embrace Gwener Gwyrdd (Green Friday).

According to research from Transport and Environment, Europe’s leading clean transport campaign group, last year’s Black Friday was estimated to release 1.2 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, due to trucks transporting goods. They found this is 94% higher than an average week by analysing historical sales data.

Sign in shop window for Black Friday, but SustFashWales are encouraging people to embrace Gwener Gwyrdd (Green Friday)
A store front slashes prices for Black Friday
Photo Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

SustFashWales is a Wales-based organisation run by Helen O’Sullivan that raises awareness for sustainable fashion in south Wales. O’Sullivan is actively campaigning to make shoppers rethink their buying habits.

SustFashWales helped to create Gwener Gwyrdd (Green Friday) along with other sustainability organisations to address the issue of overconsumption on Black Friday. It is inspired by the BuyNothingDay campaign, which calls for a 24-hour detox from consumption on Black Friday.

O’Sullivan says: “We came together to offer the best of both campaigns and to simply encourage people to think before they shop.

“We aimed to turn ‘Black’ Friday into something good, transforming it into ‘Green’ Friday, placing the spotlight on the amazing range of sustainable independent fashion brands and creatives here in Wales.” 

Independent brands need support, and supporting your local businesses instead of buying mass-produced products can make a difference to the environment. Green Friday also encourages activities other than shopping, including upcycling and getting out into nature.

Some Cardiff shops such as Lush do not participate in Black Friday sales while others do encourage waste conscious and environmentally friendly shopping.

Helen O’Sullivan of SustFashWales recommends being “a citizen first and consumer second”, thinking about what impacts your impulse purchasing could have on the planet and the local economy. So, if you find yourself attracted by seasonal sales tactics, she recommends asking yourself two questions:

  1. Do I need it, or do I just want it?
  2. Is it really a bargain if I didn’t need it in the first place?

Embrace Gwener Gwyrdd (Green Friday)

#GwenerGwyrdd #GreenFriday