Black Friday and the negative environmental effects

Trashed circuit boards (Alistair Ruff/flickr)

Kasey Dresser| December 2, 2019

After millions of shoppers buy new technology on Black Friday, they discard their old smartphones and TVs. Every year there are 50 million tons of electronic waste, made worse by Black Friday and the holidays. Electronic waste leaks toxic chemicals like lead and mercury into the environment. As well, producing fast fashion utilizes a highly intensive carbon process.

Black Friday started in the 1950s when store owners saw high-profit growth in their stores once the holiday season began. Around the 1990s the tradition turned into the frenzy it is known as today.

In Europe, environmental groups and legislative bodies are beginning to take notice of the environmental effects. Next month, the French legislative will be debating an amendment to end Black Friday sales. Former Environment Minister Delphine Bathot stated, “we are in a situation of ecological emergency, and aggressive marketing pushing for compulsive purchases is not compatible with the fight against global warming.”

Environmental activists also took to the streets to protest in Vancouver, Canada and Swindon, UK.

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