Online E-commerce returns Cause Huge Emissions

Climate and environment blog

E-commerce is growing and so is the number of returns that customers make. Almost one-third of all goods purchased online are returned. Some companies send their returns for repackaging outside the country of which the product is shipped to (if the company warehouse and the customer are in the same country), leading to long transport and unnecessary emissions.

E-commerce is growing. As e-commerce increases, returns also increase. Almost one-third of all clothing and shoes that are clicked home are returned. A common behavior of customers shopping online is to order more garments than they plan to keep. The reason for this is that they may be unsure of fit, size or color. Better information about the garments can make a big difference and reduce the number of returns.  Another reason for the returns is that in recent years, e-retailers have been pressured by the competition. They have therefore offered free shipping and free returns.

A return can first be sent back to the dealer who in turn sends the package to a different country, for inspection and repackaging. Of course, this has consequences for the environment with carbon dioxide emissions and the energy used in transport and so on.

It is not good for the environment that returns may be shipped long and unnecessary distances. On the other hand, for the e-retailers themselves, what is most critical when sending the goods abroad is the time it takes. In order to be able to sell the return again, it must be quickly in place at the warehouse. If it becomes unsold, it is even worse for the environment.

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