The holiday season is upon us, a time for everyone to celebrate responsibly, reflect and take a well-deserved break after an unprecedented year. Despite the pandemic, Americans are expected to spend nearly $30 billion this season, a slight decrease from last year’s expenses. Before you pull out your chipped card for the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales, it’s important to take a moment to ponder your decisions. This will not only relieve your wallet from unnecessary expenses, but also lower your environmental impact. Here are a few tips to help you make better shopping choices this year.
- Need or Want? If there is one takeaway from this global pandemic, it’s the fact that the future is unpredictable. Who would have thought a year ago that we would be staying home 24/7? This means that we need to prepare in advance (e.g. by saving money) for those unexpected circumstances. Before you purchase this baguette costume or that <enter ridiculous item>, ask yourself if the money could not be put to better use, say helping someone.
- Eco-friendly shipping options. After months of relative isolation, electronic devices have become a more integral part of our lives. With no surprise, many of us have been overindulging in social media, which only feeds our craving for instant gratification. As tempting as the one-day delivery option might be, challenge yourself to opt out this year. According to a research scientist at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, a slower delivery “could help decrease carbon dioxide emissions by about 30% in the last mile”. You can also shop from online retailers that offer plastic-free or minimal packaging to reduce waste.
- Shop local if possible. Whether you’re buying a gift for a loved one or yourself, consider local options before browsing on your favorite online store. This is an effortless way to reduce your carbon footprint and support your local economy. Just ensure to take necessary measures and precautions when swinging by your local store.
Written by Kelly Jean, Class of 2021