Online purchases are returned in about 30% of cases, and many of those items end up in landfills where they can take up to 100 years to degrade. To reduce their environmental impact, brands are charging for returns and donating the money to charity. Fashion leaves a notoriously large environmental impact, contributing up to 10% of the world’s carbon dioxide production. This is made worse by the fast fashion business model, which promotes frequent purchases of inexpensive, disposable goods.
A third of internet purchases are later returned, with the majority ending up in landfills. This method was used to dispose of an estimated 2.6 million tons of returns in the US alone in 2020. Because of how well-known the issue has become, online store Boohoo recently followed anumber of high street brands in starting to charge for returns in order to discourage them.