Meet the startup keeping big-box returns out of landfills

American consumers are fickle creatures, sending back up to 10 percent of what they buy from merchants every year. That’s roughly 3.5 billion items. The exposure is even bigger for e-commerce sites at up to 15 percent, according to some metrics.

This is an enormous cost of business for retailers. Plus, it can take months for unwanted or damaged gadgets, apparel and other products to find a new home or (worse) to make their way into landfills.

The founders of software startup Optoro think they can make this process far more efficient.

“I was impressed by the commitments retailers have made for the past few years in energy efficiency, disposal, other areas,” said Tobin Moore, co-founder and CEO, whose previous experience includes eSpot, one of the first drop-off businesses inspired by eBay. “What retailers are doing with returns and excess inventory, however, were not in this picture.”

 

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Meredith Guerinot

Senior Brand Specialist