It is coming closer. One of the days we have been looking forward to for some time is approaching very fast. The day is not about celebrating overconsumption on days like Black Friday and our throw-away society, but exactly the alternative. It is about showing that consumption is not bad per se, but a certain way of consumption. This consumer behaviour unfortunately is still pursued and supported by far too many companies. That’s why White Monday is so important, it shows you another option. It is a bit like finally finding the light switch in the dark, which makes it easier to find your way around. White Monday is supposed to flip the switch and focus on a problem. And we want to make it easier for you to find sustainable consumer products in order to make conscious purchasing decisions.
What makes the linear economy so intransparent?
One of the biggest problems is that the price you can see for products rarely includes the total cost for our planet and ultimately our society. Products are not manufactured with the intention of longevity and recyclability in mind – because first of all the companies want you to buy new things. For example, electrical appliances today contain many rare earths, which are still mainly mined in China. There the waste products and toxic waste water generated by excessive extraction often pollute the groundwater. However, since our environment cannot be broken down into individual pieces, nobody feels responsible and there is not enough sense of responsibility for the effects – whether in China or here. Products are often far too short-sighted and above all are intended to only satisfy our hunger for more and more.
There is also a similar problem with metals. Just because it seems to be the simpler way at first, metals like copper are still being mined from the earth using a high amount of energy. With our modern, linear, technology-oriented lifestyle, we consume a lot of resources. This is problematic because the reserves in the high quality deposits, where the metals can be mined more easily, are constantly decreasing. The rock of the inferior deposits nowadays being mined sometimes only has a concentration of one percent.
Why not process the 1.8 tons of electrical and electronic waste that our consumption generates anyway? Ten to 14 tons of electrical waste can be used to produce about one tonne of copper. For the same amount, 1000 tons of rock would have to be mined in a mine. Nevertheless, less than half of the electrical and electronic waste in Europe is recycled.
So you could say: At the moment we prefer to continue eating our way through stone rather than strategically thinking about designing our products in such a way that our earth is burdened as little as possible.
These were examples of natural resources used in technological equipment. Especially electrical appliances are strongly promoted on Black Friday. The second category that the linear economy promotes to the people in immense quantities on Black Friday is clothing.
Besides natural resources, another resource is often exploited beyond its limits in the textile industry. The social resources or the labour force of the people. It is mainly women’s labour that is exploited. Many work for very low wages and are sometimes exposed to toxic chemicals. This came to light with the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory six years ago. However, the conditions have not yet improved significantly.
The limits of resilience of our planet and the people who inhabit it, however, are certainly not brought up by the companies on Black Friday. We want to change this with White Monday.
What alternatives does the circular economy offer?
The circular economy is about sharing, renting, repairing, borrowing, upcycling, redesigning and recycling. It is the new way of producing and consuming things. The three strategies that will be in focus on the White Monday are: Reuse, Repair and Rent. These are all strategies aimed at increasing the value of products. On the one hand, the lifespan is increased when a product is repaired. On the other hand, renting a product makes more people happy than the linear economy might be happy about.
Often for conventional companies the highest priority is to generate as many customers as possible who buy their products. One product that is used by several people for them is a product that is sold less often and brings less profit. That’s why on Black Friday no one tells you to first ask your friends if they already have something similar they might lend to you. Moreover nobody says you could try to find a craftsman to prevent your electrical appliance from being thrown away a few years longer. No one tells you to buy the product second-hand, as second-hand mostly profits the society more than a single company.
Definitely no one will communicate, that you can take your time to make the right purchase decision.
The pressure generated on Black Friday makes it so much harder to break away from an ego-centered perspective and take a broader view. Because you have to make your decision on that one day when there are extra percentages. Your decision should only to satisfy your need for this one thing that will make your life more fulfilled in an instant. Your decision ultimately revolves around whether you get it now or right now, not whether the planet or other people might be affected.
We don’t want to tell you whether or not you buy something on Black Friday, nor encourage you to spend your money on White Monday. Some buddies create discount codes, because sometimes you just have to use the already known behaviors to break out of old patterns at all. We think consuming nothing at all isn’t always an option, so we want to make it as easy as possible for you to consume more consciously. Consuming more consciously sometimes means taking more time for your decision. Sometimes it means looking for alternative options. And sometimes it means consuming things in a different way than you were used to.
We want you to take the time and awareness to make balanced consumer decisions. This means that you choose with heart and mind the things you use in your life. Take time to think about what is right and important for you with a product. How do you use this product and who else is affected by its usage besides yourself?
That’s why White Monday is the Monday before Black Friday. We want to be present before mass consumption day to remind you of alternative possibilities and spread the message: Reuse, Repair and Rent. We want to promote the strategies of the circular economy to make it possible for you to holistically decide about the material things in your life. Get inspired and discover exciting new concepts to manufacture, provide and maintain consumer goods.
“A circular economy is based on the principles of designing waste and pollution, preserving products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems.” (Ellen McArthur Foundation)
The organisations, companies and influencers participating in White Monday are aware that they can actively shape society. Every day they take on the challenge to steer society in a more circular direction because they believe that this way of doing business offers long-term social and environmental added value. They use their energy and design options to swim against the current. If you choose a product or service from a company that officially participates on White Monday, you can be sure, that they base their actions on sustainability principles.
But still whether you really need this new item has to be considered by yourself.
Because what good is it to possess beautiful things in an uninhabitable world?