Black Friday is associated with big discounts and less so – with great volumes of waste. Low prices encourage spontaneous purchases which may not represent much value to the buyer. Thus, more goods end up their ‘lives’ on landfill rather sooner than later.
Only in the UK alone, more than 1 billion pounds were spent last year. The majority of the US citizens plan to shop during Black Friday. Plastic items like toys are among the most sought after. 3D printing for plastic is gaining popularity, and plastic bags are still commonly used in shops for packaging. However, plastic does not biodegrade for centuries, and a month of joy of having a new plastic item means hundreds of years of pollution.
About 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, and this number is expected to rise to 1 billion by 2050. So far less than 20% is recycled. Plastic packaging is the least recycled category: 95% is lost after a short first cycle use.
At the same time, more than 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans on a yearly basis. This plastic waste forms entire floating islands and gets into food chain. But it doesn’t hurt just marine animals. Microplastics move up the food chain and affects people as well.
Even tap water contains plastic fibers in many regions. The highest contamination rate is registered in the United States. Plastic fibers were found even in water samples taken in Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York.
A global analysis of mass produced plastics shows that current rates of recycling and incineration are note enough to save the planet from massive plastic pollution. If the current trend continues, in the next 20 years the amount of plastic waste will be doubled.
Many NGO’s encourage people to think twice before going shopping during Black Friday or any other days. While shopping it is also important to keep the plastic pollution in mind and realize that consumers’ decisions today will affect the health of the next generations and the planet as a whole.