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Greenpeace activists protest Black Friday in Madrid with giant piles of trash

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Nov 25, 2022 - 12:34 PM

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) – Greenpeace activists set up four huge piles of garbage in Madrid’s central shopping distinct on Friday to protest the throwaway consumerism encouraged by Black Friday.

The four massive piles of trash represent the typical waste produced by the shopping holiday — textiles, electronics, packaging and plastic.

According to Greenpeace, around 990,000 tons of clothing end up in landfills each year.

The organization said that in 2019, humanity generated 53.6 million tons of electronic waste but only recycled 17.4% of it.

“Don’t let them fool you. This isn’t to help families change a broken washing machine, it’s about convincing you to buy another pair of pants when you already have six of the same in your closet. You aren’t the one consuming, you’re being consumed,” said Spain’s Greenpeace on social media about the shopping holiday.

Organizers said the police were surrounding protesters to remove them a little after an hour after they had set up the piles of trash on Friday morning. They also reported receiving cheers and applause from passersby.

Besides criticizing the waste generated by rampant consumerism, Greenpeace said it also contributes to climate change.

The organization says that in Madrid, the shipping and packaging related to Black Friday in 2019 were responsible for 1.7% of the city’s CO2 emissions. That, they say, is equivalent to cutting down four square meters (43 square feet) of forest per resident of Madrid.

The organization also highlighted the ultra-fast-fashion brand Shein as a particularly egregious offender, saying its model of adding 6,000 new designs to its online store every day is only possible because of its exploitative labor conditions. According to Greenpeace, Shein factory workers labor an average of 14 hours per day, 29 days per month.

At the same time, the NGO recently discovered that 15% of Shein garments contained hazardous chemicals that violated the legal EU limits.

“Shein products containing hazardous chemicals are flooding European markets and breaking regulations – which are not being enforced by the authorities. But it’s the workers in Shein’s suppliers, the people in surrounding communities and the environment in China that bear the brunt of Shein’s hazardous chemical addiction,” said Greenpeace expert on the circular economy Viola Wohlgemuth in a statement.

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