They're the biggest shopping days of the year, so going green is not exactly on the forefront of shoppers' minds on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (unless they're celebrating Buy Nothing Day, instead). Here are a few ways to turn your holiday shopping green:
—Shop online. Skip the hassle and the crowds, and shop in the comfort of your pajamas while keeping your carbon footprint low (unless, of course, you're having single items shipped overnight from great distances, in which case you're better off driving to the store). Have your packages shipped together, if possible, and use ground transportation. From Earth 911: having ten pounds of packages shipped by overnight air uses 40 percent less fuel than driving yourself round-trip to the mall, according to the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions.
— Choose eco-friendly products. If you're buying appliances or electronics, look for an Energy Star rating. Choose clothing and gifts that haven't been shipped halfway around the world. Buy coffee, chocolate and food items that are local, fair trade or organic. Watch this space for an upcoming green gift guide.
—Take public transit. On Black Friday, people waste precious time and gas circling malls for parking spots. It's annoying, and one of the biggest complaints about the day, so take public transit to the mall to avoid the headache.
—Reusable bags aren't just for the grocery store. Bring them to the mall and keep additional plastic out of landfills.
—Avoid gift cards. Green daily recommends against them because so many big chains are declaring bankruptcy that you never know if they will be redeemable. They're also hard to recycle - send them to EarthWorks to keep them out of the landfill.
—Shop for antiques. No packaging or new resources will have been consumed for your gift. You'll avoid the mall. You'll also be giving a gift that's unique, and that your recipient is guaranteed not to have.
—Give services and experiences. People have a lot of stuff. For the person who has everything, give an experience. EarthEasy lists a few good options: Massage, music lessons, childcare, car wash, dog walking, lawn care, tutoring, cooking, gardening, or a book of coupons for household chores.