Avoid the crowds with these 10 alternatives to Black Friday shopping

November 23, 2018 by  
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The unofficial kick-off to the holiday season is virtually stamped on the calendar the day after Thanksgiving . Titled Black Friday — from the idea that it is the time of year retailers leave the red column and enter the profit, or black, column — the commercialization of the third Friday in November is somewhat of a pop phenomenon with a cult-like following. Merchants hype up and advertise specials, deals and savings weeks in advance while people prepare to rise at 4 a.m. just hours after completing their holiday feasts. If you prefer to avoid the madness, here are some alternatives. It’s not surprising that so many people participate in Black Friday. After all, it is the season of giving. Many look forward to spending the day with spouses, siblings or parents. Others like to complete their holiday shopping early so they can enjoy the upcoming weeks in other ways. But from a different perspective, Thanksgiving offers a rare 4-day weekend, leaving many unencumbered by school and work obligations. This is an opportunity to enjoy the last bits of decent fall weather, spend time with family or try something new. So while everyone else is out battling for the newest electronics, fill your Black Friday with some of these shopping alternatives, many of which are good for your health , the environment and your wallet. Volunteer Nothing feeds the soul like helping others. Volunteer to serve a meal at a local homeless shelter; these shelters often seek volunteers for special meals served during the holidays. Also, track down your local food bank. Food banks are always looking for extra hands during the busy season. Volunteer options abound, so choose to participate in something that you’re passionate about such as a church bazaar, a beach clean-up or a gift wrap event to support foster children or servicepeople. If you’d rather spend the day alone, make crafts to donate to a worthy cause, scoop leaves out of drains on your street or make repairs at an elderly neighbor’s home. Get into nature Fall is that forgiving season where you might need an extra layer, but the harsh winter days have not yet arrived. Take advantage of the weather and enjoy some time in nature . Invite a friend for a walk or take the dogs for a long hike. Pedal the miles on your street bike or hit the hills with your mountain bike. Go bird watching, camping or kayaking. If the snow has arrived, hit the slopes for skiing or snowboarding. Related: Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials Take a trip The long holiday weekend is the perfect time to take a mini vacation. Hit the beach , visit family or explore someplace you’ve never been. Locally, you can set a goal of visiting all the parks in your area. Do home improvements Life gets busy with the daily 9-5, so when you have a couple of days off work, it’s nice to tackle home improvement. Clean out the garage, donate cans and bottles to a local fundraiser, make trips to donation centers and get the recycling out of the house. Perhaps paint a room or install new flooring. You could also complete those outdoor tasks of cleaning up the garden, building new beds and repairing gates. Attend a local event Merchants and vendors know that you’re spending the day with family, so there are ample opportunities to find an event that suits your interests. Look on community boards for information about craft fairs, wine tastings and musical events. With part of your thoughts wrapped up in holiday gift giving, pick up gift certificates for lunch while you’re at the winery, buy concert tickets for a friend or purchase small local goods such as honey and tea and then put together gift baskets as the holidays get closer. Host a friendsgiving Friendsgiving is a growing tradition where people assemble for a casual pre- or post-Thanksgiving gathering. Commonly, people bring leftovers or a favorite recipe , so everyone contributes to a potluck-style dinner. You could make it a family event, invite couples or just have friends over. Structure the day the way you want with an emphasis on quality time together and no stress. Make it a pajama party. Write thank you cards to each other or others. Have a movie marathon or cue up a sporting event on TV. Make gifts Instead of marching in to the nearest mall, spend the day making your own gifts . Have a wreath-making party, whip up a batch of Kahlua drinks and place in cute bottles, prepare gifts in a jar such as cookie or soup ingredients, make salt dough ornaments or get out the sewing machine to create heat packs or door draft blockers. Related: Inexpensive DIY holiday centerpieces and decorations Schedule a date Get out with others and attend a movie, go bowling, visit the zoo, head to the theater, check out an art exhibit or museum, get a pedicure or massage or check out a local escape room. Create memories at home In today’s busy world, it’s rare to truly unplug and revel in moments at home. Plan a craft with the kids, make snowflakes for decorations, work a puzzle, make homemade popcorn and gather the family for a movie or dig out the board games. These are the things your family will remember long after the store-bought items are unwrapped and eventually discarded. Support alternatives to big box stores Hit up the secondhand market through thrift stores and estate sales, shop locally and support small businesses and scour Etsy and other online merchants for crafters who make creative, one-of-a-kind items. When you do make purchases from retailers, support those in alignment with your eco-friendly beliefs. Also check out Shop for Good Sunday , a community of companies that aim to be responsible stewards in business. If you decide to go shopping, remember to carry the spirit of the season with you. Allow someone to park in a space when you arrive simultaneously, offer to return a shopping cart for a mother with small children, help the elderly across the road and let someone with only a few items check out before you. Also think about ways you can minimize waste by purchasing items with responsible packaging, bring your own bags to the store and refuse bags or boxes that you do not need. Images via Rawpixel ( 1 , 2 ), Fidel Fernando , Kane Reinholdtsen , Traveler , Kelsey Chance , Michael Mroczek , Myke Simon , Picsea ,  Heidi Sandstrom and Shutterstock

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Avoid the crowds with these 10 alternatives to Black Friday shopping

Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles

November 12, 2018 by  
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The ReNew outerwear line, launched in late October by Everlane , has yanked three million water bottles out of the waste stream and turned them into fibers for the venture. The new collection offers cleaner fashion in an industry known for heavy pollution and resource consumption. This first round of renewed clothing includes four fleece pullover options, six puffer jackets and three parkas. While other companies have edged toward the trend of incorporating recycled materials into their production, Everlane is taking it a step further. Everlane has vowed to eliminate all virgin plastic from its manufacturing processes by 2021 and instead will rely 100 percent on recycled materials . Furthermore, the company will eliminate all single-use plastics from corporate offices and retail store locations. It has also committed to the use of recycled bags when shipping merchandise. The commitment is a firm one, as evidenced by the process involved to turn plastic into usable fibers. First, the facility receives large bales of compressed plastic bottles that are sorted using a combination of human and machine efforts. After sorting, the bottles are ground down into tiny flakes and subsequently melted into molten plastic. Next, that plastic is sent through a machine that turns it into long strands and then dices the strands into crystals. Once they arrive at the spinning facility, those crystals are melted down once again, turned into thread and spun into yarn for fabrics. Related: Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint In addition to the ReNew line aimed at conscientious material sourcing, Everlane offers sustainability with the goal for its products to last for decades. This is in steep contrast to many textile industry business plans that market trendy and disposable clothing to encourage consumers to constantly purchase the newest, flash-in-the-pan item. In addition, the company demands fair trade practices from the factories it works with and believes in ethical treatment of employees. In fact, all Black Friday profits are returned to the employees in some fashion. As a case in point, the 2018 profits are earmarked to build an organic farm on the campus of a facility in Vietnam, a country with otherwise excessive pesticide use that pollutes the food supply. + Everlane Via Treehugger Images via Everlane

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Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles

Opt Outside Virtually with Sounds from Around the World

November 24, 2017 by  
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Instead of indulging in consumerism on Black Friday, follow the … The post Opt Outside Virtually with Sounds from Around the World appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Opt Outside Virtually with Sounds from Around the World

Patagonia made $10 million for charity on Black Friday

December 3, 2016 by  
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In a single day, outdoor retailer Patagonia raised 10 million bucks for the environment. All of the sales from Black Friday are going to grassroots organizations working to protect the planet. Think of it as a fundraiser for the Earth that shattered previous records.

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Patagonia made $10 million for charity on Black Friday

Patagonia is donating all $10 million of its Black Friday profits

November 30, 2016 by  
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Black Friday is a consumeristic nightmare – but there are some companies using the day for good. Last week Patagonia announced plans to donate all of its Black Friday sales to charity, and they wound up pulling in a grand total of $10 million – five times the amount they originally predicted. The money will go towards grassroots environmental groups fighting the wave of climate change deniers moving into Washington D.C. next year. Patagonia has vowed to give away 100 percent of its profits from the single biggest shopping day of the year – and they intend to keep their promise. The company’s philanthropy goes all the way back to a 1985 pledge. Their yearly donations to environmental organizations account for just one percent of their daily global sales – but the figure added up to $7.1 million just last year. Related: Scientists warn of uncontrollable climate change amid drastic Arctic melt “This is a difficult and divisive time for our country,” Lisa Pike Sheehy, the company’s vice president of environmental activism , told CNNMoney. “I believe the environment is something we can all come together on… Environmental values are something we all embrace.” Patagonia says the decision to donate their Black Friday sales was inspired by nation’s recent political climate, since the environment does not seem to be a great concern for incoming politicians or many incumbent conservatives. The money will be given to a global network of over 800 grassroots environmental groups hellbent on saving the world. + Patagonia Via CNN Images via Flickr , Wikimedia

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Patagonia is donating all $10 million of its Black Friday profits

Episode 54: A Thanksgiving feast of stories about food systems

November 25, 2016 by  
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This week’s GreenBiz 350 podcast: What does it take to be the most sustainable coffee business in the U.S.? How clothing fits in the circular economy.

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Episode 54: A Thanksgiving feast of stories about food systems

Black Friday fings up the financial costs of fast fashion

November 25, 2016 by  
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Investors should account for raw materials sourcing and resource constraints in their investment decision-making.

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Black Friday fings up the financial costs of fast fashion

Instead of Black Friday, clean up the planet with ‘Blue Friday’

November 20, 2016 by  
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It’s become a shameful annual tradition in the US to flock to retail stores the day after Thanksgiving. Instead of fighting with fellow shoppers over the last half-price sweater, why not do something to help the planet instead? Retailer United By Blue is encouraging customers to do something new this year: go out into nature and pick up litter. They’ll even give you a free kit to help you get started.

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Instead of Black Friday, clean up the planet with ‘Blue Friday’

REI announces plan to close all 149 stores on Black Friday

October 25, 2016 by  
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Feeding the frenetic consumerism beast, Black Friday takes a hefty environmental toll each year. To combat the craziness, REI decided to close all 149 branches again this year with their #OptOutside campaign. They’ll pay their 12,287 employees and encourage participants to skip the mall and spend time in nature instead. Want to join in? Share your outdoor adventures on social media with the hashtag #OptOutside. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEVXU4RDUoI With the goal of creating new traditions for the Thanksgiving holiday, REI offers a green alternative through their #OptOutside campaign. To make it even easier for people to forgo shopping and spend time in nature, REI has created an outside activity finder online so people can find state parks or trails close to where ever they are spending Thanksgiving. Explorers can search for places to go hiking, climbing, mountain biking, skiing, or snowboarding. They can also filter for family- or dog-friendly activities. Related: California and Minnesota state parks are free on Black Friday CEO Jerry Stritzke said in a statement, “This year, REI will shut down on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday because fundamentally we believe that being outside makes us our best selves – healthier and happier, physically and mentally. But as a nation we’re still spending over 90 percent of our lives indoors and it’s a trend we need to tackle. I love that there is a community of people in this country who dedicate their lives to that mission, so together, we are asking America, ‘Will you go out with us?'” 275 local and national organizations will join REI to promote the #OptOutside campaign through activities or social media posts, including Subaru, Google, and Meetup. For example, Subaru will offer pet owners in New York City shuttle rides for them and their dogs out of the urban jungle to nature, and will drive shelter dogs to the outdoors to spend time outside of their cages. You can check out the full list of #OptOutside partners here . + REI #OptOutside Images via REI Facebook and REI

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REI announces plan to close all 149 stores on Black Friday

Beautiful organic food facility mimics the shape of traditional Chinese courtyard houses

October 25, 2016 by  
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Located on a 6,000-square-meter site surrounded by village housing and farmland, the Organic Farm processing plant disguises its industrial purpose with a series of fragmented structures arranged around a central courtyard. Most of the buildings are single-story with pitched roofs to complement the surrounding flat farm fields and small-scale architecture. The buildings are separated into four processing areas—Material Storage, the Mill, Oil Pressing Workshop, and Packing Area—each with access to smaller courtyards. Covered walkways link the different blocks. The inner courtyard is the Grain-Sunning Ground. Related: ARCHSTUDIO inserts a modern teahouse into an ancient Chinese structure A 60-centimeter-tall cement base protects the glued-timber-framed buildings from ground moisture. Translucent polycarbonate sheets clad the facades to let in copious amounts of natural light ; at night the buildings appear to glow like a lantern. “The space, structure, materials and the multiple layered exterior courtyards together creates a warm, natural, and continuous working atmosphere for this farm,” writes ARCHSTUDIO. + ARCHSTUDIO Via Dezeen Images via ARCHSTUDIO

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Beautiful organic food facility mimics the shape of traditional Chinese courtyard houses

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