How to reduce your carbon footprint in the Black Friday sales

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Looking to go green in your shopping habits? We can't blame you: as tempting and discount-fuelled as the sales period is over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there's also a lot of environmental impact that often gets skirted over, which is why we've brought together some quick tips to being smart about how you buy.

These sales events only get bigger every year, too, and there's a lot to consider around the carbon footprint of international transit, wastage around unnecessary upgrades, and more in the world of online retail.

So what can you do to reduce your carbon footprint in the Black Friday sales? There are a few key steps to doing this, which may include reducing some of the immediate convenience offered by the likes of Amazon Prime, but is certainly worth keeping in mind during the sales. Here are our top green shopping tips to keep your footprint as small as possible.

1. Don't do same day delivery

Many of us subscribe to Amazon Prime largely for the convenience of having items arrive within a day of ordering. However, Climate Lab has found that rush deliveries tend to use more diesel vehicles and be less efficiently organized than slower couriers, creating larger CO2 emissions. Picking a slower delivery option will help the planet – and will often be cheaper, too.

Amazon delivery

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Buy your items together – and from domestic sellers

Similar to the first one: if you have a shopping list of five different items, making sure you shop in as few places as possible will also reduce the number of trucks, planes, or other vehicles carting your goods around. If you can tick off every gadget from one store, all the better.

Buying from abroad can also add a long, expensive, and environmentally unfriendly journey to your new gadget, especially for larger items like 65-inch TVs. If you can get your goods from domestic sellers, even if the price isn’t as low, it may be the better option.

(Image credit: LG)

3. Think twice about upgrading

Do you really need that new smartphone / laptop / 4K TV? If you got a new model last year, or your 2008 brick phone is still somehow going strong, that’s one purchase you might not have to make. Annual releases tend to have quite minor iterative improvements, and saving up until you actually need a replacement will mean a much bigger jump in specs you didn’t pay several times for.

4. Repair, don't replace

Why get a new model when you can fix the one you have? The wonderful thing about PCs is being able to upgrade individual PC components, and there are countless screen repair shops for dropped iPhones. Things can get tricky, as companies like Apple often look for ways to brick devices if using an unofficial fixing solution, or just make you feel guilty about it. However, new right to repair laws are giving people more leeway to do this.

This writer once saw someone throw an iPhone in the bin for getting a single crack in the screen. Be better than that.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

5. Go in with a plan

Let’s face it, a lot of good Black Friday deals happen every year, and there’s always pressure to make the most of a big sales event. Knowing in advance what items you want to get out of it – say, a cheap OLED TV, or a new outdoor speaker – will help to ensure you don’t end up with countless impulse buys cluttering your living room.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.