So, your Thanksgiving celebration full of good food and family fun is over. Everyone is in a turkey coma from the tryptophan, and now the big decisions must be made. What is your Black Friday shopping strategy? What items are you shopping for that haven’t already been bought online?

Consider the Environmental Impacts of Black Friday

Overconsumption is a common theme during the holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans generate up to 45% more solid waste than at any other time of year. And this is just solid waste; it doesn’t include all the environmental impacts travel, energy use, and supply chain impacts to produce, distribute, and ship all the stuff we buy.

Although the popularity has subsided as online sales have become more common, Black Friday continues to be a spending frenzy at some retailers, with customers competing for a limited number of products that, quite frankly, no one really needs. Three words: flat screen TVs. According to Inside Climate News, Black Friday has an “enormous environmental impact,” but not in a good way.

Now the good news, at least for the environment. According to Forbes, conscious consumerism has started to grow, with Black Friday evolving into Green Friday, which focuses on more sustainable consumerism or avoiding it altogether. Retailers, as well as consumers, have begun to recognize the impact of crazy consumerism, especially related to Black Friday but also as a general mindset. So, you’re probably thinking: What can I do to decrease my environmental impact while still buying “stuff” either online or in-store. And if you want to fight crowds, still enjoy a productive Black Friday shopping experience with low stress and a smile on your face?

Ways to “Shop Smarter for the Environment” on Black Friday

  • Don’t buy anything. Give experiences as gifts: take a walk in nature with your family, play a game with the kids, exchange “white elephant” gifts of used items such as books.
  • Select companies that are authentically committed to reducing environmental impact. Be aware of greenwashing.
  • Shop local.
  • Buy less and buy smarter. Purchase eco-friendly products: energy-efficient electronics, durable goods that last longer, gift cards (so loved ones can select their own purchases). Don’t buy something just because it’s a “good deal.”
  • Be conscious of your online habits to reduce energy usage. Be deliberate with internet clicks and searches – each search query uses energy. Clean up junk on your devices.
  • Buy goods that have sustainable packaging options, use less packaging materials, and combine shipments.
  • Carpool with friends or family members if you plan to shop together. Or walk/bike to your shopping excursion.
  • Park farther away. Avoid driving around looking for that perfect spot in a crowded lot. Enjoy the walk into the store.
  • Remember to bring reusable shopping bags.

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About Denali
Denali is a leading expert and recycler in the U.S. organics recycling industry. In food waste alone, Denali was responsible for managing over 600,000 tons of food waste from retail, foodservice, and industrial food processors in 2022. In recognizing the impact that food waste has on the climate, Denali is committed to working with customers to find innovative, data-driven solutions to reduce waste on the front end. Denali views what others consider “waste” as a valuable resource, manages multiple recycling facilities in the U.S., and has a sizable fleet to transport organic wastes to a diverse network of recyclers. As a contributor to the circular economy, Denali closes the loop by producing valuable products from recycled organics, including animal feed, biodiesel, compost, tire lubricants, and mulch.



“As Black Friday Wilts, Green Friday Sprouts.” Forbes, October 2022.

“Black Friday’s ‘Enormous Environmental Impact’ Sparks a Green Backlash.” Inside Climate News, November 2022.

E-Commerce and Sustainability: How Bad is Black Friday Really? LinkedIn, November 2022.