Now, once we have your attention, we’ll tell you how sales shopping is killing the planet (and why we do not practice it).
The end-of-the-year sales occur around the same time each year, retailers offering discounts on items associated with the season or turning unsold or off-season stock into cash to make room for new. The end-of the year sales will then turn into New Year sales, then Valentine’s Day sales, Easter sales and so on.
For retailers, it is an easy way to make money via impulse or unplanned buying. That said, sales shopping comes with several costs to the consumers but more importantly, to our environment and planet.
It is pretty obvious that the more we buy, the more we throw away.
Fast fashion has led to a big increase in the quantity of clothes produced and thrown away. According to the studies of European Parliament (2020), the amount of clothes bought in the EU per person since 1996 has increased by 40% following a sharp fall in prices and increase in new styles, which has reduced the life span of clothing. Europeans use nearly 26 kilos of textiles and discard about 11 kilos of them every year. Used clothes can be exported outside the EU, but are mostly (87%) incinerated or landfilled.
It’s known that less than 1% of the material used to produce clothing is recycled. Therefore, it is utterly important to shop by your values, think before you buy and if possible, purchase a second-hand item instead of a new one. Or an upcycled item. Otherwise, we will bury our planet under clothes, shoes and accessories.
“The Reet Aus brand was created for one specific reason - to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry through design. As controversial as it sounds, but buying an upcycled t-shirt will reduce the amount of garbage behind my back. We turn trash into trend.” – Reet Aus
The most common period of high return rates is during holidays and straight after. Why? Again because of the splurging throughout the Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year sales. The more people purchase items online based on emotion and time pressure (due to end dates of the sales), the more are there returns.
Returns come with a number of negative impacts on our environment. Consumers sending items back, and couriers collecting and redistributing them, all means extra driving thus traffic and thus CO2 emissions. Furthermore, processing, transporting and landfill of single-use or non-recyclable packaging used in returns mean more land use and a greater carbon footprint.
Sales shopping can spark joy and be economically friendly to your wallet but it should be done wisely and responsibly.
With the COP26 behind us, the 2030 Agenda being constantly promoted, the daily talks about fighting climate change and protecting our environment, we need to take action. But sometimes taking action could also be not taking action. Simply put – missing a sales season or two, instead of going along with the frenzy, is often a choice for a better, and greener, future.