The Truth Behind Holiday Traditions
BY TERRASEED / November 24, 2021
We believe in the possibility of aligning holiday traditions with our values. So, for this holiday season, we want to instill no harm holidays and hopefully create new traditions for the future.
Huge shopping sprees come with huge amounts of waste, and Black Friday is the epitome. Overconsumption as a norm has incentivized many people to purchase things simply because they are on sale. Thus, making Black Friday a tremendously wasteful day. With miles of plastic packaging wrapped around department store products, and an overwhelming amount of unneeded travel and purchases, Black Friday has become an almost embarrassing tradition of the holiday season.
Whether you buy technology, clothes or any other discounted item, it is easy to lose sight of what you are actually buying in the hopes of crossing everything off your holiday list at a cheap price. According to Greenpeace, even the cheapest items have a high cost to the environment. For example, technology uses materials that cause a huge impact, and84% of clothes end up in landfills! Not to mention the huge amount of packaging that holds all of these items.
According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 164 million people plan to go shopping between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday in 2019.
What can be done?
Many people have begun to acknowledge the wasteful and frivolous parts of Black Friday, but what is the solution?
From our point of view, there is really no place for sustainability in this holiday as it is. So, we decided to take this chance to raise awareness about the negative impact this consumption-centered holiday has on the environment. We urge you to reassess your plans, and rethink what you really need to buy. Finally, when purchasing any product, you can always opt for environmentally friendly alternatives instead of the heavily packaged items found at department stores.
There are ways to reduce your waste this holiday shopping season, and we want to share some with you:
- Consider upcycling or opting for gently used items
- Invest in higher-quality goods that will last longer
- Buy locally made presents (try checking out a local farmers markets or small business)
- Try eco-friendly products that don’t utilize plastics, and have a smaller carbon footprint
- Do It Yourself, when giving a present, it is always a nice gesture to find or make something special for that someone
The stats are already alarming. Do you know that only 29 percent of electronic waste is recycled? That more than 8 million tons of plastic go into the oceans each year? And that every American generates around 80 pounds of clothing waste each year? Now imagine how the Black Friday consumer spree would skyrocket those numbers. People upgrading their electronic devices, regardless of their condition, buying clothes they don’t need and shipping and wrapping everything just because prices are down is a recipe for disaster.
It is estimated that up to 80% of items, and any plastic packaging, will end up either in landfill, incineration or, at best, low-quality recycling, sometimes after a very short life.
In 2019, the typical shopper spent on average $1,047 on Black Friday, according to Balance’s data from Black Friday sales. The average annual increase from 2002 to 2019 is 3.4%. Before the pandemic, most people went to the stores to shop. However, in 2020 most sales were made online. This introduces another problem: air pollution. With the exorbitant amount of delivery trucks that hit the roads during this shopping frenzy, diesel fuel, which is refined from crude oil, produces harmful emissions when it is burned, with diesel-fueled vehicles a major source of damaging pollutants.
Still, Black Friday is not the only holiday that calls for this reassessment. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it also brings with it some traditions that, although long-standing, cause huge negative impacts as well. Mainly, the meal.
In just one day, 46 million turkeys are killed to be served at dinner. Since animal consumption already poses a major threat to the environment, imagine the consequences this tradition entails. In this case, we want to encourage you to switch up the meal. Try including vegan options, or just go for it and veganize Thanksgiving altogether.
We really do encourage you to reevaluate your traditions and shopping habits this holiday season.
What do you need?
Are there any sustainable alternatives for that product?
And what can I wrap it in that is not single-use and unrecyclable?
Are all of these traditions absolutely necessary?
Remember that small actions may not seem like much, but in this holiday season, we deem it important to lead more mindful lifestyles and to spread love, kindness and gratitude.
In our case, we live by a no harm philosophy. We carefully make every single choice regarding Terraseed and our products to ensure that we don’t have a negative impact on the environment and that we avoid harming any other living being or ecosystem. We promote a vegan, eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle, and we make sure we live by it.
Ultimately, no one can deny the fact that the Earth needs a break. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the interrelationships between the environment and our livelihoods. During the pandemic, when our lives as we know them were put on hold, the Earth began to slowly heal itself. For example, as our emissions were cut back, air pollution levels lowered to a point unheard of since 2006. However, these were not structural changes, and unless we decide to stick by them, everything we gained from the pandemic will not remain.
So, choose to support the healing of the Earth rather than spending mindlessly on things you don’t really need. It’s up to all of us to take care of our home.