Dark waste warning for Black Friday impulse deals Emma-Sophie Gerrish November 22, 2017January 30, 2018 Archive The latest challenge for Somerset shoppers trying to waste less while holding onto their cash is this weekend’s US-inspired marketing heave between Black Friday and Cyber Monday – 24 to 27 November. With sprawling weeks of claimed discounts and short-term deals, it all encourages impulse buying that can all too easily lead to consumers spending more than they intend on items they do not need. Which leads to waste, duplication, clutter and a mountain of packaging and delivery cardboard that can – if not carefully handled by residents – jam rubbish bins, clog up already full recycling trucks, and cause kerbside collections to be delayed or missed. Meanwhile, consumers are spending money that, especially in the run-up to Christmas, they may well need for future bills. Of course, the bargains firms claim to offer may not be such bargains, with consumer group Which? warning that 60% of deals are not what they seem. It reported: “Many items discounted over the Black Friday weekend can be found for the same price or cheaper at other times of the year.” That duplicated an earlier warning from the Wall Street Journal that declared: “Attention Black Friday shoppers: You’re probably wasting your time.” Consumer revenge campaigner Martin Lewis – founder of the popular MoneySavingExpert website (other sites exist) – urges shoppers to stay tough with simple money mantras that defend against unnecessary excess. Those who have cash should ponder possible purchases with questions like: “Will I use it, is it worth it?” Those lacking cash should ask: “Do I need it, can I afford it?” If any answer is no, Lewis is firm: “Don’t buy it.” To help fight the temptation to spend, spend, spend, one option is to join the 60-nation Buy Nothing Day on Friday 24 November, which advises “lock up your wallets and purses, cut up your credit cards and dump the love of your life – shopping!” Campaigners Hubbub have launched #BrightFriday to encourage clothes reuse, swishing and revamping, while the Furniture Reuse Network has created #BuyNothingNew to promote the reuse of furniture, electrical items and more. For parents, all the efforts to part us from our money, and our ability to resist, may offer important lessons for children about “delayed gratification” that could affect the rest of their lives. Long-term American studies of children able to resist the temptation of one sweet now in exchange for the promise of two sweets later showed them to enjoy a wide range of better outcomes in terms of their health, behaviour and education. Still keen to spend now? Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is urging residents to shop smarter so whatever they buy is great value and will last, and to plan how to deal with the waste – especially cardboard – so their community does not miss a collection. Fast rising amounts of cardboard swiftly fill all the allocated space on recycling trucks, forcing crews to either stop collecting card or take an hour or two to return to their depot to drop off card and little else before resuming collections. The SWP spokesman added: “Customers with excess waste have a choice. If they have space, they can store it and put out some for each collection until it is gone. “If they have time and transport, they should take the excess, all other dry recycling – everything except food waste – and any other rubbish to a recycling site.” And if Black Friday or Cyber Monday mean there are items in working order but not longer needed in your home, ensure you think reuse before recycling or rubbish: sell them on, gift them to friends, offer them for free on Freegle or Facebook, or donate them to charity, such as a furniture reuse group. Check the SWP website for all information on winter waste, including kerbside collections, recycling sites, severe weather and missed collections.