- Australians are predicted to spend an estimated $6.2 billion over the Black Friday sales from November 24-28.
- The annual sale period, which started in the US, has become a major global shopping event.
- As shoppers bag bargains, advocates are warning of costs to the planet and fast-fashion garment workers.
So as savvy shoppers save money, how are the environment and workers paying?
What is Black Friday, and how big is it in Australia?
This year, Black Friday falls on 25 November and Cyber Monday on 28 November.
This represents an increase of $200 million on the 2021 figures and equates to $1,076,389 per minute.
How do Black Friday sales harm the environment?
“The fact that they’re being produced at such a high rate means higher energy footprint and therefore carbon footprints, and then, of course, the excess packaging which in Australia is hardly recycled at all.”
Black Friday has become a major shopping event around the globe. Source: AAP
Those who try to do the right thing by placing unwanted items or packaging into recycling bins may also be unknowingly contributing to excessive rubbish and landfill, Mr Angel warns.
“We don’t have a good recycling rate of packaging in Australia, so you can’t use that to alleviate some of the guilt of buying something and then disposing of it.”
What about the people making these products?
Humanitarian groups warn excessive consumption and production are also harmful to fast fashion garment workers, many of whom are not paid a living wage.
“We need consumers to move beyond price as the only measure and understand what sits behind that price may mean a whole lot of things that if they knew them, they wouldn’t be comfortable with.”
How could Black Friday be improved?
“The problem now is that a lot of the burden does lie with the consumer because a lot of big businesses are not focused on making the sales period sustainable in any way.”
The Australian Retailers Association has been approached for comment.