How Much Waste Does Black Friday Generate?

PUBLISHED: 7/11/2023

Black Friday is coming. On the 24th of November, retail shops and e-commerce stores will churn out massive sales filled with unmissable discounts. What was once a one-day event has now become, for many retailers, a week-long campaign.

Black Friday generates tonnes of waste and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), making it one of the most unsustainable days of the year. Discover how Black Friday is bad for the environment and how you can be eco-friendly during this period here.

How Bad Is Black Friday for the Environment?

Increases Carbon Emissions

Since Covid, shopping has shifted online as consumers desire an easier buying experience. In 2021, reported that online deliveries from Black Friday sales generated over 429,000 metric tonnes of GHG. This is equivalent to 435 return flights between London and New York!

E-commerce deliveries account for 4% of the world’s emissions, mainly from Black Friday and Christmas shopping. This is alarming, but this retail event’s carbon impact doesn’t stop here.

Creates Tonnes of Waste

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, 80% of items bought end up in landfill, incineration or low-quality recycling. So, why does this happen? Because Black Friday drives mass consumerism. People are attracted to deals. So, more of us buy products we don’t need.

All of these unwanted purchases add up. Plastic packaging is still popular for brands, meaning most of Black Friday waste comes from plastic. While it is mostly biodegradable, only 12% of plastic is recycled in the UK. The remaining waste goes to landfill, abroad or is incinerated.

For many brands, Black Friday is a final chance to clear stock before Christmas. Don’t be surprised if you find out that your returned deliveries go straight to the landfill rather than being resold. As we waste more, we generate more carbon emissions. The result? Air pollution and global warming.

How Can I Be Eco-Friendly on Black Friday?

It’s not all doom and gloom! As experts in waste removal, we know a thing or two about being more sustainable. Explore our tips for an eco-friendly Black Friday below.

Choose Local, Sustainable Brands

A small, local company will follow better environmental practices than big brands. You’ll give your money back to the community and invest in quality items you’ll use for the future.

Purchase Energy-Efficient Tech

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great for deals on electronics. Select products with an excellent efficiency rating, as this will save you energy and carbon. Don’t forget to recycle your old electronic products with The Waste Team. We’ll recycle it correctly, ensuring most of it avoids the landfill.

Don’t Impulse Buy

Think to yourself, “Do I need to buy this product?”. The answer is probably no. Reduce impulse spending and list items you need from the sales before shopping.

Recycle Black Friday Waste Correctly

Reuse, recycle or compost your packaging whenever you can. The Waste Team recycle 90% of the waste we collect, so if you want quick waste removal, we’re here to help. We’ll clear out your Black Friday waste effectively, safely and sustainably.

Get a FREE Quote for Black Friday Waste Removal

Love Black Friday but hate the waste involved? The Waste Team will take the hassle out of your hands and dispose of your waste quickly. Contact us today to get a free quote.


Call us for a FREE, no obligation quote on: 0113 5312 919