What happens to your returned products?

What happens to your returned products?

Let’s take a minute to talk about some of the waste that we don’t see. Because as much as we love glass jars and bulk shopping (hey, I love it too!), there’s way more going on behind the scenes than we may realize. Like corporate waste, for example.

Did you know that many returns end up shipped to landfills? Companies find it cheaper to trash returned items, so they throw them “away”. Just like that. (Adria Vasil and CBC covered this recently.) According to the CBC article, “in Canada alone, we are returning $46 billion worth of goods every year.”

Many companies burn, trash, or damage unsold stock—even if there’s nothing wrong with it! The clothing brands Burberry and H&M have been found guilty of things in the past, and this is something @thetrashwalker covers extensively.

If a store receives a product slightly damaged (such as the box being broken but the product is fine) it’s often trashed. 

The products could be donated or used for wonderful causes, but instead, they’ll sit in landfills, essentially forever.

So what do we do?

  1. Consume less in general.
  2. Buy secondhand.
  3. Save returns for when you need to return things: don’t buy things with the intention of returning them. (Try things on in-person if you can.)
  4. Ask companies how they process returns, and what happens to returned stock. (Not every company does these horrible practices—I remember once I had to return a bra that wasn’t right, and the company asked me to donate it to someone!)
  5. Spread the word!

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