Singles Day And How To Shop Online While Staying Green

White shopping bags with black and white tissue paper

11/10/2020

Written by: Allie Willison, Customer Experience @blueland

For all the single people out there who love to shop, did you know that Singles Day is the largest shopping day in the world? For the past 11 years the online retailer Alibaba has been hosting massive sales to encourage shoppers. November 11th has become the day to indulge oneself with some retail therapy and in doing so, has surpassed every other major online shopping day. 

What Is Single’s Day?

It all started in 1993 when students at Nanjing University in the “All Male Singles Dorm” decided they wanted a day to celebrate being single and maybe even pull a few pranks on the happy couples among their classmates. They chose 11/11 either because it looks like a group of four single people, or because 11 looks like “bare sticks” which in Chinese slang means “bachelor”. After hearing about this trend sweeping college campuses, the CEO of Alibaba decided to have a Singles Day sale in 2009, and the new holiday suddenly became the most popular day to shop online. 

Now Single’s Day is celebrated by everyone regardless of gender and has grown in popularity outside China too. In 2018, Alibaba did $1B in the first 85 seconds of sales and in 2019 they generated $38.4 billion in one day. Compare that to the same year’s Amazon Prime Day, which only did a shabby $7.16 billion over two days. Each year the day is only growing in popularity. Because who doesn’t want an excuse to buy that fun thing you’ve been eyeing? There’s no need to wait for a S.O. to treat you, you can treat yourself! 

Shopping Tips For Sustainable A Single’s Day

If you’re going to indulge in some online shopping to celebrate being wonderfully single, we’ve got the following tips on how to keep your carbon footprint low when adding to your cart! 

Shop Sustainable

With 11 million tons of textiles ending up in landfills each year in the US, many brands are turning towards more sustainable practices. By ordering from brands that specialize in sustainability, you can make your closet greener! Fashion brands that use sustainable fabrics and materials reduce their carbon emissions by around 30%. Some of our favorites include Reformation, Allbirds, and Everlane! Learn more about fashion’s impact on the environment here

Slow Shipping

Be sure to pick the most standard shipping option. Expedited shipping causes more emissions since they have to opt for faster vehicles like planes instead of boats and trucks. Planes are the worst as they release the highest CO2 emissions compared to other methods. By choosing standard shipping you can cut emissions up to 50%. So you might have to wait a little longer, but you’ll be happy to know it’s better for the planet! Read more about shipping emissions here.

No Returns

If you’re buying clothes, it’s helpful to take your measurements (Tip: you can use a ribbon or string and tape measure if you don’t have fashion tape) and compare them to the size chart. This can minimize the possibility of needing to return an item, which doubles the shipping emissions. Plus, upwards of 25% of returns end up in a landfill when the retailer can’t restock them, creating 5 billion pounds of waste annually. Knowing your measurements can help keep new duds in your closet after the first try! 

Resale Sites

Try resale sites like ThredUp, Depop, or the Real Real! Choosing used items cuts emissions by up to 70%. You can also find great small business options on Etsy (filter to United States for items sold and shipped from the US to lessen international shipping emissions too!) Resale sites traffic has risen by 25% in the past year and is continuing to grow. Erin Wallace, a VP at thredUP, recently said “if everyone in the U.S. bought just one used item instead of new, it would save nearly 6B pounds of carbon emissions  —  the equivalent of taking half a million cars off the road for one year.” 

One Stop Shop

Pick your one stop shop! The best way to minimize your footprint is to purchase all your items from one or a very few online stores so packaging and shipping are consolidated. 

2020 could be the year for the rest of the world to get in on the fun! Some more ways to celebrate are taking yourself out to eat, splurging on something you’ve wanted for a while, or creating lists on what you appreciate about yourself! In China, people host “Blind Date Parties” where a bunch of single people get together to mingle or universities have mixers (We’ll maybe save that one till next year, how about a Blind Date Zoom Party instead?) Though it started as a sort of anti-Valentines, Single’s Day has evolved into a day to celebrate your independence and bask in self-love. 
Learn more about Singles Day here!

The Clean Essentials

The perfect way to start cutting out single-use plastic from your home