H&M to start charging for returns. This is the latest brand to follow the same route and this just might be good for the planet as a whole. H&M is the latest big clothing company and brand to axe free returns in the United Kingdom. And while this may be less convenient for customers in general, it just may help to clean up a really big mess.
H&M Charging For Returns
The latest and newest fashion trend in the UK seems to be brands reportedly charging customers to return items. And while that sucks for the pocketbooks of consumers, it probably has a really positive environmental impact. Free returns in question as you should know come with an environmental cost, dubbed more pollution and waste.
H&M is now the latest brand to begin charging for returns in the UK, BBC reported today. The brand joins Zara, Uniqlo, as well as several other clothing brands cutting their very own costs simply by nixing free returns. The parent company that owns Zara, Inditex, as well as H&M make up the two biggest clothing retailers globally. And if these policies in question start gaining traction outside of the UK, they could well make a significant dent in the environmental footprint of the fashion industry.
How Returns Put a Dent to Environmental Safety
Just before you purchase a thing, it has probably been on a lengthy journey by sea, air, and even maybe on truck, and maybe even all three. That journey in question creates greenhouse gas emissions heating the planet as well as local air pollution (especially for what tend to be low-income communities of color near warehouses). Returning the product in question generally extends its journey, thus creating even more pollution. And there is a pretty good chance that its final destination will be a landfill since it can be cheaper and easier for a company to chuck the unwanted item rather than just sell it again.
The popularity of online shopping with free returns has reportedly encouraged many people to make use of their homes like dressing rooms. It is now easy to buy a product online, try it on at home, and then return an item that meets the unsatisfactory criteria. And that in question has taken a growing toll on the environment. Carbon dioxide emissions in the US, just from hauling around returned goods grew from 15 to 24 million metric tons of CO2 between the year 2019 and 2022. That in question is roughly equivalent to the climate pollution from over 5.3 million gas-guzzling cars in the previous year.
Half of Online Buys Are Returned
Around half of online buys are returned, The Guardian reports. But that does not mean that the items go back on the shelf; half of those returned products as you should know go up for sale again in the US. Close to 10 billion pounds of returned merchandise wound in landfills in the US in the previous year, as per one estimate.
Ways Companies Can Effectively Cut Down On Waste
Disincentivizing returns is one major way companies can effectively cut down on that waste as well as their greenhouse gas emissions. They can also give consumers more accurate as well as detailed information regarding products that they market online. That might just be able to stave off some returns simply by giving customers a better idea of what they will be getting in real life once a package arrives at their door.
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