About the event
Buy Nothing Day is held the same day as Black Friday, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. On a day of mass sales and stampedes at shopping centres, this day offers an alternative to highlight the waste and pointlessness of consumerism. First organised in Canada in 1992, the day has since spread internationally. A range of activities are usually organised including awareness raising campaigns, marches and clothes swaps. This is a day to reflect on the alternatives to mass consumerism, namely an economy that reduces waste, builds things to last, and uses sustainable materials.
How to approach it
This day is about helping students to see the extraordinary waste of the current economic system as exemplified by the chaos of black friday. One useful way to do this is to highlight the impact of this overconsumption on our planet. A useful fact is that £10bn worth of precious metals is dumped in old electronics every year. You could also show pictures of Chile's Atacama desert which has become a huge dumping ground for discarded fast-fashion clothes left to simply waste away.
A second thing to focus on today is alternatives to the current model of consumerism. Some great examples of this are zero-waste shops that minimise packaging or community sharing initiatives which share and swap clothes, appliances, books or tools. Things to ask here are: how can things be designed to last longer? What things do we buy that are unnecessary? What is the impact of throwing away so much waste?
Have you ever bought something that you've only used once? When we buy too much stuff it wastes unnecessary energy and creates too much rubbish. Today is the day to celebrate buying nothing and being happy with what we already have.