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While some may choose to abstain from the annual event to reduce consumption and boycott overproduction, there's no reason you can't take advantage of deals on items you have already determined you need. Officially, Black Friday falls on November 27 this year, with Cyber Monday following on November 30. However, due to concerns over crowds and shipping delays, holiday shopping is starting earlier this year, so you can expect to see sales even sooner.
As with any purchasing decision, it's important that you carefully consider your actual need for the item and any reuse-and-reduce alternatives. Buying nothing will always be cheaper, greener, and more ethical, but there are items on the market that help support a sustainable lifestyle. If you do shop, shop responsibly. Do your research on the manufacturer and the product (Does it come from an ethical company? Is it cruelty-free, and does it have minimal packaging?).
Also, don't forget about Small Business Saturday: Is there a local shop you could support instead? Or a company that is giving back? Ahead are some great deals on eco-friendly products and sustainable clothing from last year's event, but check back, as we'll be updating with new items as they go on sale.
Grove Collaborative Household Products
Grove has strict standards for carrying only non-toxic, cruelty-free products that are sustainably made with plants and contain only natural fragrances and minimal packaging. This makes it a solid source for everything from household cleaning products to personal care items. Last year's sale included markdowns on toilet paper, soaps, detergents, beauty products, and more.
Grove is a certified B Corporation that is committed to lowering its impact on the environment and supporting communities and reforestation efforts. The company is plastic-neutral (with a goal to be plastic-free by 2025), and its shipping and facilities are carbon-neutral (with plans to reduce the entire footprint).
Read Next: The Best Composting Toilets of 2020
Last year, Everlane donated a portion of sales up to $300,000 to Oceana (an organization fighting ocean pollution) via its Black Friday fund. The clothing brand sells low-impact, long-lasting products (denim, jackets, footwear, bags—you name it) sustainably made by an ethical supply chain.
Google Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation
Yes, the jury is split on smart thermostats. Our Design Editor Lloyd Alter isn't impressed with them, but others insist these gadgets can save energy and money and encourage households to pay more attention to usage. This Nest model can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet no matter where you are. You can also access and track your energy history with your phone. There are settings for home and away (so no more cooling or heating an empty house), and a leaf icon lets you know when you've chosen an energy-saving temperature.
Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer
Many beauty products contain questionable ingredients, so we always recommend checking resources such as the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database. This vegan, cruelty-free formula earned a rating of 2, meaning it's low-hazard. Users with sensitive skin love this formula for its natural soothing powers, which come from cactus water.
Chef'n EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin
Composting is an admirable goal for 2021. Reduce the amount of waste you send to landfills by throwing eligible food scraps into a countertop container like this one, which is made of ceramic and features a replaceable natural charcoal filter, vented lid, and removable bucket.
Read Next: The Best Countertop Compost Bins of 2020
S'well Water Bottles
Cut out single-use disposable products and invest in reusable vessels instead. If you need a new water bottle anyway (or you need an affordable gift idea), you might as well score one at a discount (just make sure you clean it regularly). S'well aims to eliminate plastic bottles through its Million Bottle Project, and it has committed to donating to frontline works via the Buy One, Donate One program.
SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Machine Bundle
Since they convert tap water into carbonated drinks, soda makers can reduce the environmental impact of plastic bottles and their transportation. If your household consumes enough bubbly drinks to warrant one of these gadgets, look for the SodaStream, which went on sale last year.
Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet Upright Vacuum
According to the Hayward Score, dust can contain chemicals in addition to pollen and dander. This vacuum has a reusable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, "Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology," and an included pet power brush, so it's especially great for pet owners.
While of course, you can make your own essential oil diffuser, there are some great ones on the market that don't contain artificial ingredients. Vitruvi uses only pure oils with no fillers or synthetic fragrances (though it does use electricity). Get 30 percent off Vitruvi diffusers (except the new Move and Stay models) and essential oils starting Monday, November 23 at 6 p.m. up until Cyber Monday.
When is Black Friday?
Black Friday 2020's official date is November 27. As in previous years, the annual shopping event follows Thanksgiving, with Cyber Monday slated for November 30. However, you can expect to see deals even sooner as retailers attempt to reduce crowds and shipping delays.
Should I worry about Black Friday shipping delays?
It's a good idea to start shopping for the holidays as early as possible this year so that you can ensure your packages arrive on time. A surge of orders could impact shipping times.
What retailers are doing pre-Black Friday deals?
Predictably, both Walmart and Target are hosting in-person and online sales this year, with the latter also price-matching through December 24, 2020. And of course, Amazon will have the event in 2020 as well. Several sustainable shops also featured markdowns for Black Friday last year, and we expect they'll do so again.
All prices and discounts were accurate at the time of publishing and may have since changed.