Black Friday boycott: how you can shop sustainably and support Manchester’s independent shops

As small retailers call for shoppers to turn their back on the ‘consumerism’ of Black Friday sales by retail giants, we look at six ways you can help independents - and the environment - while shopping in Manchester.

Independent shops need your support Credit: Shutterstock

Consumers across Britain are expected to spend around £9.42bn over the Black Friday weekend (26-28 November) this year, with major online retailers already advertising discounts aplenty.

However, there has been a backlash against the mega-sale in recent years, with small businesses saying they can’t compete with the likes of Amazon - and the British Independent Retailers’ Association says 85% of its member will boycott Black Friday, with some donating part of their Friday profits to local charities instead.

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Others highlight the environmental impacy - estimated Black Friday deliveries in the UK last year caused 429,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (that’s the equivalent of over 430 return flights from Gatwick to New York).

However, Haleh Moravej, a social entrepreneur in Manchester, says that small changes in our habits can make a big difference.

Haleh said: “I’m a great believer that it’s about conscious shopping, fair trade shopping and love for what you buy.”

Haleh Moravej

With that in mind, we looked at six small ways you can shop more sustainably in Manchester this Christmas - and help independent retailers at the same time.

1. Ditch the car – If you are shopping in town, take the train if you can then hop on the free bus services that operate around the city centre: you can find a map of them here. Or hop on a new rent and return Bee Bike at Oxford Road, with prices starting at 50p: find out more here.

2. Shop second-hand style - With 80% of clothing either ending up in landfilled or being incinerated, heading to The Thrift Shop in Afflecks to give someone else’s pre-loved clothes a new life. Thomas Elkington, one thrift shop customer, said: “This place is a great treasure trove of vintage clothes.”

Check their Instagram to see what’s in right now here.

3. Get swapping and look smart – Get your free ticket to the Future Fashion Fair at The Yard on Saturday 27 November. This event is showcasing vendors from across the north west, as well as offering workshops and clothes swaps. Book at Eventbrite here .

4. Thoughtful gifts mean a lot – Haleh Moravej reckons Christmas gifts don’t have to be expensive to mean a lot: “If you’re buying for someone else the price doesn’t matter, it’s the thinking and love that goes in to buying the present.

“There is a Persian expression that says when you buy a present there has to be a little bit of you and a little bit of the other person in it.”

With that in mind, try Hulme garden centre who have grow your own herb kits- a great gift for all ages, easy to grow even indoors and great for budding cooks.

They also have a ‘bring your own bottle’ station to refill your household essentials like shampoo, conditioner and washing up liquid.

Growing your own herbs Credit: Shutterstock

5. Guilt-free lunch breaks – Need a break? Head to the People’s History Museum riverside Open Kitchen café. They serve sandwiches on organic sourdough, hearty superfood bowls and organic wines. Plus, all of their takeaway food and drink containers are from 100% compostable packaging. Also, many of Manchester coffee shops do discount if you bring your own cup. Costa and M&S are just a couple of the stores who will knock 25p off each beverage.

Coffee Credit: Shutterstock

6. Get crafting – Feeling festive and want to decorate without buying tons of plastic this Christmas? You can create your own adorable paper robin decorations made from recycled paper. The workshop at the Great Northern Warehouse is lead by artist Sarah Pink and takes place on Saturday 11 December. Book at Eventbrite here.