Returned gifts are creating an environmental disaster

The season of giving is over. It’s followed by the season of returns.

During the first week of January, US consumers will send nearly $30 billion in products back to where they came from, returning 9% of all e-commerce purchases. That adds up to 5.8 million packages in transit, peaking January 5th, a day that UPS has nicknamed National Returns Day.

But here’s something you probably didn’t know: Many of those returns aren’t going to make it back into store inventory and onto shelves. Instead, they will rack up a giant carbon footprint as they wind their way through a network of middlemen and resellers and, at each step, a share of those goods will be discarded in landfills.

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CARLY LLEWELLYN

Senior Director of Corporate Marketing