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What Actually Happens To Your Online Returns?


With the increase of online shopping due to the pandemic, holiday returns are expected to be much higher than usual. Companies often resort to throwing away returned items, leading to a large amount of waste. Companies like Happy Returns and Verde Fulfillment are trying to help smooth the process by providing special drop-off points or sending unwanted items to charities. Apps such as Bigthinx are also trying to reduce returns by helping people find clothes that will actually fit. France has passed laws to require supermarkets to donate food rather than dump it, and to forbid destruction of unsold non-food items. Experts are calling for legislation to regulate how unsold goods are handled, and to prohibit destruction of goods that are good to use. Consumers are urged to purchase only what they truly need and to be grateful for what they have.


What proportion of retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2020 are estimated to be returned?
It is estimated that 15-30% of retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2020 will be returned.

What are some of the ways that companies manage returned products?
Companies manage returned products by sending them back to the store or e-commerce warehouse to be restocked, sending them to a discount retailer, marking them as a charitable donation, or throwing them away.

How much clothing does the fashion industry produce in a year, and how much of it is unsold?
The fashion industry produces 100 billion clothing items in a year, of which 20 billion will not be sold.

What kind of legislation is being implemented in some countries to regulate how unsold goods are handled?
In some countries, legislation is being implemented to prohibit the destruction of unsold goods and require them to be reused, redistributed, or recycled instead.

What is the potential environmental impact of unsold products being destroyed or thrown away?
The potential environmental impact of unsold products being destroyed or thrown away is a waste of resources, a source of pollution, and an additional cause of overflowing landfills.

AI Comments

👍 This article is a great in-depth look at the complexities of online returns and the environmental consequences of unsold items. It also provides helpful information on how to reduce waste from returns like virtual try-on apps.

👎 This article does not offer any real solutions to the problem of online returns and waste, and instead focuses on the problems associated with the issue.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about what happens to the items you return online. It looks at the environmental impact of all the returns, how companies are dealing with them, and what happens to the items that can't be resold or donated. It's kind of eye-opening.

Friend: Wow, that's really interesting. What implications does it have?

Me: Well, it's clear that online shopping has become a major part of our lives, particularly during the pandemic. But this article points to the potential environmental issues that come with it, such as the amount of waste generated from returns and the destruction of unsold goods. It also shows that companies need to think more carefully about their returns policies and how they can make sure that items don't end up in landfills or being destroyed. Consumers also need to think about their purchasing habits and try to purchase what they need rather than what they want.

Action items

Technical terms

Electronic commerce, or e-commerce, is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet.
Fast fashion
Fast fashion is a term used to describe clothing designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends.
Returns management
Returns management is the process of managing the return of goods from customers to the seller.
Logistics is the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services, and related information from point of origin to point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements.
Liquidation is the process of selling off assets in order to pay off creditors.
Charitable donation
A charitable donation is a gift given by an individual or organization to a nonprofit organization, charity or private foundation.
An algorithm is a set of instructions or rules used to solve a problem or perform a task.
B-Stock is a marketplace for unsold goods.
Municipal solid waste
Municipal solid waste (MSW), commonly known as trash or garbage, is a waste type consisting of everyday items that are discarded by the public.
Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects.
Virtual try-on
Virtual try-on is a technology that allows customers to virtually try on clothes before they buy them.
Legislation is a law or set of laws proposed or enacted by a government.

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