Online Returns Waste, Mechanicsburg PA

online returns waste, Online Returns Waste, Mechanicsburg PA
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Our shopping habits have changed during the months this pandemic has been with us, with more and more of us shopping online. This aspect of our economy has grown enormously, and retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2020 will amount to US $210 billion, which is an increase of 37% over the same quarter of 2019.

When we shop online, we are never quite sure that the product that is delivered will live up to its expectation, so every item we purchase online has a good chance of being returned. Studies have shown that an item bought online has 4 times more chance of being returned than an item bought at a store, and this is made easier by the policies of free deliveries and free returns offered by most online stores. Clothing is the most likely item to be returned. The fact that there is no consistency in sizing across different brands, leads to returns. People end up buying an item in different sizes, or colorways, as the ones that are not to their liking can be easily returned.

Have you ever wondered what happens to these returns?

Creating a Mountain of Waste

One of the biggest problems experienced by online brands is disposing of these unwanted returned items. These mountains of waste need to be dealt with, and unfortunately it is easier and cheaper for them to be incinerated or sent to the landfill rather than to resell them.

The fashion industry makes in excess of 100 billion items of clothing annually, and of these at least a fifth, or 20 billion items will not be sold or will be returned. Added to this is the fact that textiles are amongst the most difficult materials to dispose of in an environmentally acceptable way. Further to this are the wasted natural resources used in their production, and it is obvious that these items are a huge source of pollution. When they are disposed of in landfills, they add to the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere and increase the problems of global warming. 

Dealing with product returns and overruns is one of the most difficult problems faced by an online business. Brands are sensitive to any negative feedback from dissatisfied customers on social media channels which could affect business. Although most brands want to find solutions to the problems of returns and unsold items, we as the customers have to take responsibility for our role as we need to be mindful of what happens to the items we are so quick to return.

Creating a Solution

Fortunately, there is an awareness of this problem, and there are many different solutions being offered up.

  • Donating returns to local charities. Amazon has recently started a program where their third-party sellers can donate their returns or excess stock to organizations that will give them away to deserving causes and charities rather than throwing them out. 
    Amazon had record sales during the pandemic which accounts for about 40% of all online sales worldwide. These sales result in huge numbers of returns, so this is an important effort to keep these mountains of waste out of our landfills. Types of items given away through charitable organizations include clothing, household appliances, and even school supplies.
  • Resale businesses selling straight to consumers buy up merchandise from large brands such as Walmart and Macy’s. This ensures that millions of products are re-sold this way yearly, and most importantly, keeps them out of our landfills.
  • Amazon sells returns to e-commerce liquidation websites such as and these sites sell on to anyone who wishes to buy them. There are bargains to be found, and who doesn’t love a bargain. 
  • Governments in some parts of the world have started legislating against the disposal and destruction of items that can still be used. Europe, and especially France, seem to be at the forefront of this as French luxury brands are particularly known for destroying unused items, from clothing to perfume to watches, in an effort to protect their brand names and their intellectual property. Legislation has been put in place that prohibits the destruction of items including electronics, cosmetics, and clothing. 
  • There are virtual try-on apps such as Bigthinx, which can help you choose the correct size by measuring you and enable you to “try on” clothes before you buy, thus cutting back on returns.

Most of us are mindful in our everyday life, of recycling our trash, and reusing where we can, to minimize the trash we send to our landfills, to curb our carbon footprint. But it is important to realise that our online shopping habits could be undoing any positive actions we carry out in our daily lives. We need to be aware that the more we return from our online orders, the more will land up in landfills. These items are often shipped around the country a few times, thus increasing their carbon footprint before landing up in a landfill. Scarce natural resources are used in the manufacture of these products. Toxic dyes that are used in textiles often find their way into the water systems. Many of these products that are returned are destined for landfills without even being used.

We are beginning to hold brands and manufacturers responsible for the way they process their returns and overstock inventory, but we also need to play our part. We have to be aware of what is likely to happen to our returns when we shop online.

There are online platforms that assist companies resell their returned and overstock items. is one of these that is owned and operated by Optoro. These platforms are estimated to help reduce this particular landfill waste problem by up to 70%.


Why Use Junk Removal Mechanicsburg PA?

At Junk Removal Mechanicsburg we may not be able to solve the problem of online returns, but we are here to assist you dispose of your household and yard trash as efficiently as possible, and in a responsible manner. We can assist you in reaching your goals of recycling your trash. We can collect your junk after hours and on weekends, and even offer a same day junk removal service. We are a licensed waste removal company and will dispose of your unwanted household and office trash in a responsible manner, recycling where we can. 

Contact us for a free, no obligation quote and indicate the pick-up times that will fit in with your schedule. 

Call us at the following number: 717 988 0997