What to Do With Unwanted Holiday Gifts? We Asked a Returns Startup

Either way, in the post-Christmas and generally post-holiday haze, you might find yourself thinking about sending a gift back. You’re not the only one: A 2015 New York Times article noted that the holidays saw annually about $65 billion in returns, a quarter of the entire year’s worth of returns.

And the real problem is a lot of those returns never actually get, well, returned, with many of these perfectly good items ending up in a landfill instead of back on a shelf. That’s a ton of waste, further damaging an environment that is already being damaged enough, thanks.

The startup Optoro is one of the companies attempting to change that. As first noted in that 2015 Times article, Optoro works in what’s known as “reverse logistics,” giving retailers some much-needed relief from the headache of all those returns.

“We provide retailers with a technology platform that they use to manage, sort, process, and disposition retail returns to their next best home,” Optoro spokesperson Carly Llewellyn tells Inverse. “That includes returning some of the inventory to stock, reselling some on secondary marketplaces like outlet channels or our own e-commerce channel, www.Blinq.com, or donating the items if they cannot be resold.”

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