Black Friday is a tradition started in America. It’s the first Friday after Thanksgiving that sparks the beginning of the Christmas season. It has become more popular throughout the UK as the best day to get your Christmas present deals. While you may love to grab a bargain, the amount of plastic waste linked to this single day will surprise you.
The environmental cost…
To give you an idea of exactly how chaotic Black Friday gets, Brits spent approximately £8.6 billion last year; with more expected in 2020.
Fast forward to 2020, a turbulent year, I think everyone would agree. And the first (and hopefully last), Black Friday with the nation in lockdown. Although shoppers will be unable to physically utilise the day, it is expected to be just as big online. Online purchases however have consequences for the environment, particularly the packaging and plastic waste.
Plastic wrapping, plastic waste and the environment
It is no secret the damaging effects that plastic waste has on the world; so let us look at the facts…
- Over 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950’s
- Every year plastic waste is the cause of over 1 million animal deaths around the world
- Plastic is an illegal material in Kenya. The production, selling and use of plastic can result in up to 4 years imprisonment, or a substantial fine!
- Around the world, 1 million bottles are bought every single minute!
- It is estimated that the rate of plastic production and its use, by 2050 there will be more plastic waste in the oceans than fish
- Plastic microparticles have been found in the flesh of fish across all oceans; fish that is being consumed by humans
- Perhaps more shockingly, the effects of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), nicknamed the forever chemical are now being uncovered. It’s found in practically all water supplies worldwide
Plastic waste: what can we do?
High street shopping halves the amount of unnecessary plastic packaging. But with that out of the question this year, there will be a heavier impact on plastic pollution.
It’s safe to say Coronavirus has had massive implications to most, if not all, businesses this year. So, what can we do to help lessen the blow?
While it’s up to retailers to make changes. Generally, as consumers we cant try to consume less and only shop with retailers using environmentally friendly packaging where possible. And consider making sure you check whether your wrapping paper is recyclable.
Interested to find out where your waste is going? Check out another of our Waste Facts series on household waste and landfill.