Black Friday, that orgy of consumption that comes a day after Thanksgiving's orgy of consumption, is anything but green. Millions of cars idling in the predawn cold, releasing millions of shoppers craving deals on goods that were mostly made without concern for environmental impact, and which mostly will be tossed into the trash after, or even before, their short useful life.
Don't do it!
This year, even the Wall Street Journal is touting the cultural currency in Black Friday's alternative, Cyber Monday or, as it's being rebranded, "Green Monday." This Monday, workers across the country are expecting to power up their computers and use an hour or two on the company's dime for personal Web shopping. (Online shopping demands less energy for the likes of shipping, heating and lighting warehouses and operating retail stores.)
According to Deloitte's annual holiday shopping survey, it's only one way Americans are going a little more green for the holiday:
If your goal is to shop a little greener, consider The Daily Green's 100+ Green Gift Ideas (we're actually up to more than 200), or better yet, our 20+ Ways to Give Without Giving "Stuff" experiential, charitable and volunteer gifts that are as unique as they are memorable.
And before you step out for one of those must-have gifts, consider the environmental performance of the hottest gifts on sale this season. We've compiled a sentence or two about each of the hottest gift items, as reported by Deloitte's survey.
The No. 1 gift consumers plan to buy, again, are gift cards and gift certificates. Gift cards can cut down on unnecessary consumption, since the gift-getter isn't at risk of getting a gift he or she doesn't want. We suggest imaginative green options, like an annual National Parks access pass. But most plan to purchase more traditional gift cards for Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and Target.
Nintendo as a company scored the lowest of any electronics company on Greenpeace's latest assessment of how well companies reduce the use of toxic substances, recycle products and support efforts to control global warming. But, the Wii is the most energy-efficient video gaming system, according to a recent first-of-its-kind assessment of video gaming's demand on electricity.
Greenpeace rated Apple near the bottom of its list of green electronics companies, but it has recently bowed to pressure from the likes of Greenpeace to allow for more easy free recycling of its iPods and iPhones.
See No. 2 for consideration of the Wii. As video games go, this one at least encourages the user to move!
See PS3 or XBox for energy considerations.
Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls, was among the U.S. toy manufacturers that recalled toys -- nearly 1 million, in Mattel's case, because of lead contamination last year around this time. U.S. Public Research Interest Group has warned consumers to avoid soft plastic toys, as well as those made with vinyl, since they could contain phthalates and lead at levels that will be banned in U.S. toys as of next year.
The Daily Green isn't aware of any environmental performance data about American Girl dolls, but soft plastics could be an issue with some of the products U.S. PIRG has warned about.
Like Mattel toys, the Hannah Montana franchise did not escape the lead recalls of a year ago, and soft plastics could be an issue with some of the products U.S. PIRG has warned about.
Before purchasing a television, consult the government's new EnergyStar ratings for televisions, unveiled in November, which for the first time give consumers an idea of the often substantial lifetime electricity costs associated with televisions, particularly newer flat-screen HD models. Also consider that Samsung, LG and Wal-Mart were given the highest ratings for their take-back programs recently by the Electronics Takeback Coalition.
There are no EnergyStar ratings for GPS systems, but you can check the EnergyStar ratings for battery chargers, as well as the environmental performance of the manufacturer with and Electronics Takeback Coalition before making a purchase.
There are no EnergyStar ratings for digital cameras, but you can check the EnergyStar ratings for battery chargers, if one is associated with the camera you're choosing, as well as the environmental performance of the manufacturer with and Electronics Takeback Coalition before making a purchase.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.