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Buy Nothing Day FAQ


What is Buy Nothing Day all about?
Buy Nothing Day (November 29th 2014 UK), is a simple idea, which challenges consumer culture by asking us to switch off from shopping for a day. Its a global stand off from consumerism - celebrated as a holiday by some and street party for others! Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!


What Buy Nothing Day isn’t.
Buy Nothing Day, isn’t anti-Christmas, or anti-independent local shops, (see below), and those who choose to take part are not scrooges.


Where did Buy Nothing Day come from?

Buy Nothing Day was started by Adbusters in the early 90's and has grown into an international event celebrated all over the world.


What is so bad about shopping?

It’s not shopping in itself that’s so harmful, it’s what we buy. The rich western countries - only 20% of the world population are consuming over 80% of the earth’s natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage and unfair distribution of wealth. As consumers, we should question the products we buy and the companies who produce them.

The idea is to make people stop and think about what and how much they buy effects the environment and developing countries. Increasingly large companies use labour in developing countries to produce goods because its cheap and there aren’t the systems to protect workers like there are in the west.


I’m a local independent shop - why should I support this?

Buy Nothing Day fully support independent local shops and we encourage people to shop locally. We understand local shops act as a community hub and must be preserved. For every £1 spent in an independent shop - 50p goes back into the local economy. For every £1 spent at a supermarket only five pence goes back into the local community.

Buy Nothing Day is an opportunity to promote independent shops, businesses and the local community! Do something the big brands and supermarkets can’t do - hold a food tasting day, organise a swap shop, or go Fairtrade. Get beyond the supermarkets and make commitment to local and support your independent shops and businesses.

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What about the environment?

This is a big issue for consumers who are constantly forced to buy unnecessary packaging waste that the big stores and supermarkets produce. Much of this waste is passed onto the consumer who has no choice at the point of purchase. Superbrands are the worst offenders offloading tonnes of pointless packaging onto consumers who are then trusted to recycle it. The challenge to supermarkets and big stores is to remove unnecessary packaging from their stores. The raw materials and production methods that are used to make so many of our goods have harmful side affects such as toxic waste, destruction of wild life, and wasted energy. The transport of food by air also contributes to pollution especially when much of the food can be produced here.

Who runs it?
You do - it’s your day - so get involved! Tell all your friends about Buy Nothing Day, put up posters and refuse to shop on November 24th 2012. Buy Nothing Day UK is part of global network - see the links below for more websites.

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What can I do?
Literally, doing nothing is doing something! However, committing to consuming less is a start. Check out the web site and think about ways of joining in - set up a campaign group, check out the TOOLKIT page on how.

Do you have a poster, flyer and leaflets I can download?
We have a poster on the TOOLKIT page for you to download and print. We no longer offer leaflets and flyers for download as they use resources. You could make your own though.

Why is there two different dates/days?
In Canada and America Buy Nothing Day falls the Friday after Thanks Giving Day. In Europe we hold our celebration on the last Saturday in November. In the UK we tend to shop more on Saturday, so it makes sense.


What will I achieve?

It’s incredibly challenging to last 24 hours without spending any money. You’ll feel detoxed from shopping and realise how much it uses up your free time. For 24 hours you’ll get your life back and that’s a big achievement! Buy Nothing Day is an opportunity for you to make a commitment to consuming less, recycling more and challenging corporations to clean up and be fair. Modern consumerism might offer great choice, but this shouldn’t be at the cost of the environment or developing countries.


Is one day really going to make a difference?

Buy Nothing Day isn’t about changing your lifestyle for just one day - it’s a lasting relationship - maybe a life changing experience! We aim to make Buy Nothing Day stick in your mind so you think about what you buy and the impact it has on the environment.


Is Buy Nothing Day successful?

Absolutely, and it’s getting bigger and better every year!

Cartoons by www.polyp.org.uk