Everyone is excited about all the online sales in the month of November. According to iPrice, Lazada experienced an increase of 108 percent in Google searches just within the eight minutes right before the Singles’ Day Sales. Yet we still have the Black Friday along with the Cyber Monday in this month. Have you ever wondered that where did all these sales ‘days’ or ‘festivals’ come from?
The term “Black Friday” is actually originated from the US in the early 1950s, to describe a pre-Christmas day of commercial carnage that normally happened the day after Thanksgiving Day, where most people start doing the holiday shopping. In 2010, when online shopping started to become a norm, Amazon introduced the “Black Friday” to the UK, and this concept soon spreads around the world.
So, what is “Cyber Monday”? Cyber Monday is just a marketing term created by marketing companies to persuade us to continue shopping online to prolong the impact of Black Friday’s sales.
As for the Singles’ Day that just passed, it is an entertaining and a ‘bittersweet’ festival famous among young people in China, to celebrate the fact that they are proud of being single. Both online and offline merchants have taken the opportunity to encourage young consumers to shop crazily as a celebration for the Singles’ Day.
November has always been the peak sales month for retails because it is the period where we shop for Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year. It’s just that the battlefield now has alternated from physical stores to online stores. However, this change has impacted our life and society in many ways. Let’s see what happened behind the scene of these mega online sales.
The Cardboard Consequences
We love the convenience of having our things mailed directly to our doorsteps. Save time and troubles, save petrol and the cost of parking tickets.
Recently, I ordered a piece of T-shirt. It came in a rectangular box, wrapped in a transparent plastic bag, boxed together with the invoice and some flyers. The weight of the packaging is heavier than the T-shirt itself. I started to think, do we really need these?
Over-packaging has always been a problem of consumerism. Online shopping only doubles up this problem. The question is, why do we need packaging?
Packaging is somehow important to protect our goods. However, many companies spend big money on the packaging of the products just to make them look more appealing. The same theory applies to online merchants. They make sure all goods that you ordered are wrapped thoroughly with the air bubble wrap, neatly placed in a durable and often nicely-designed box, and then secure the whole box in a waterproof envelope. They take all the trouble just to get a good comment from you in return.
All these ‘extra efforts’ will eventually end up in the landfill systems.
What can we do to help the environment?
So, should we stop shopping online?
Of course not!
The fact is both online shopping and offline shopping have their pros and cons. There is no fault to shop online, but there are a lot of things we can do to help reduce the harm of online shopping to our environment.
#1 Ask for What You Want
Some websites let you leave a personal note while placing an order. You can take the opportunity to tell the seller to reduce unnecessarily packaging. Most companies will try to accommodate your requests.
#2 Recycle or Reuse
Sites like Nifty provide a lot of creative ideas to teach us how to upcycle our trashes. Let’s get crafty to turn all these boxes, papers and bags into something new!
#3 Go for Green Options
Some sellers only use sustainable packaging materials that can be recycled or re-purposed. If the products with green packaging are sold at reasonable price, you can always support their good efforts by opting for these products.
#4 Donate the Packaging Materials
Some cosmetic brands like Innisfree and The Body Shop actually collect empty bottles from their customers. Though many companies haven’t picked up this system yet, you can try to donate emptied product bottles that are in good condition back to the company, and suggest them to pick-up the recycling habit.
Besides, you can also collect the bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, pulps, etc. and donate them to a shipping company.
#5 Fill Up Your Cart
Accumulate some goods in your cart before checkout instead of placing an order for each product. Buying the products that you need from the same platform/seller in one order can help minimizing the processes and help to save extra boxes.
#6 Shop Wisely
Always do some research before placing an order. Make sure you buy the products that suit your requirements, sustainable, durable and easy to repair. For addition, buy from trustable and good-reviewed sites and sellers. By doing that, you can save the hassle of returning unfavourable products and you wouldn’t need to replace them with a new one in the near future. This can surely prevent larger amounts of future waste.