On Friday 25th November, amongst other things – it’s Buy Nothing Day. The idea is quite simple, you buy nothing, nada, zip, zilch. Others may instead celebrate Black Friday, which over the last few years seems to have changed from a day into a whole month. If you are in desperate need of a home appliance then it can be useful to utilise Black Friday deals (as long as the item is actually cheaper just during this time) but for many, we just get drawn into endlessly scrolling items that we don’t need. Whilst this isn’t great for our purse strings during a cost of living crisis, it also has a huge impact on the environment.
The Buy Nothing Day website says; “Recycling is great, but reducing is better! If we all take simple steps to cut down on what we consume then collectively we will change our attitude towards single-use packaging, fast fashion and our throw-away culture.”
Whilst digital online shopping has many benefits to individuals and groups, it’s important to be mindful of the downfalls. For example, do you think you’d spend less money each month if you couldn’t shop online – you would have to physically go to a shop to make every purchase? Do you ever look around your home and identify a number of objects that you really didn’t need, and are now just collecting dust? Do you ever find yourself receiving items that you’d forgotten you’d purchased – or you’d added to your online basket at the last minute? In that case, you probably weren’t desperate for the item in the first place!
So, as you might have guessed, being a Digital Skills Trainer, I do online shopping myself, I am aware of the benefits in certain circumstances and how much easier it can make a life for many people, for many reasons. I also fall into online shopping “traps” like buying an extra item to get free delivery, or to get a discount.
All of this adds up to a devastating environmental impact, more deliveries, more unused items, more production emissions, more fast fashion etc.
So what can we do about it? Well, for starters we can take part in “Buy Nothing Day” to try and be mindful of our purchasing and consumer habits. We can also try to lessen the impact our shopping has when we need to do it, and we can utilise digital skills too:
- Amazon now has a Climate Pledge Friendly symbol to show more sustainable products and you can choose not to have multiple deliveries from one order
- Google Maps has a symbol to show routes that use less fuel – so less CO2 emissions and less spending!
- Apps like Olio and Too Good To Go can be utilised to reduce food (and other) waste, allowing individuals and organisations to list items for free in their local area for others to collect – free food if you’re able to collect at a suitable time
- Vinted – another app – allows you to pick up new and used clothing items for low prices – a bit like a charity shop – meaning many items get further use before landfill
- Many clothing shops now have specific sustainable ranges, to show which items are more environmentally friendly – if you look on their websites it’s usually only a few clicks to filter for just those items – easy!
- Local Authorities also have various schemes across the country to help everyone lessen their environmental impact, one example is a pay-as-you-go bicycle rental, you download an app, search for the nearest bike, then use the app to unlock it and off you go, the payment is all taken care of within the app too.
As we head into a potentially very tough winter for some, let’s do our best to remember to take care of our planet too.
Written by Digital Trainer, Trisha Porter