What REALLY Happens to Returns?

What REALLY Happens to Returns?

     Picture this, you are scrolling through Instagram and lay your eyes on the cutest pair of shoes you have ever seen. It’s like these shoes were made for you and you know what you have to do… buy them immediately! Then, after 5 long days of waiting for them to come in, they finally arrive and you beam as you take the lid off knowing you have the perfect outfit to wear with them this weekend. However, this brand runs small and you are feeling like one of the step-sisters from Cinderella trying to force your foot into these stilettos. So disappointing, but you decide to exchange these shoes for a bigger size and wait a little longer, and at least somebody else can enjoy these shoes. Right? 

     Unfortunately, in most cases this is WRONG! With online purchasing increasing 60% since 2019, the tsunami of returns have overloaded retailers and distributors with an environmental consequence. Most consumers believe their returned, unused items will be put back on the shelf to find a happy, new home but most likely their items are met with a different fate— trashed. Due to the cost and time it takes to inspect returned items, many retailers decide to trash returned items, because it is generally cheaper than reselling.  

     According to a 2018 report, returns account for 5 billion pounds of waste sent to the landfills and 15 million tons of emissions every year in the US alone. The fashion industry is notorious for this. Big brands like H&M and Burberry have admitted to burning hundreds of millions of dollars worth of their products. Many brands–especially luxury– would rather toss out their products than resell them at a lower price at the risk of tarnishing their image. 

     Based on several investigative reports into Amazon, it is said that a warehouse will generally destroy 130,000 items a week. This is one of the reasons that for many purchases they will let you keep the item and refund the full amount, because it’s less energy and work than to return it just to destroy it. According to BBC Earth, Each year in the US, customers return approximately 3.5 billion products, of which only 20% are actually defective. 

      Is that the new way of the future, consume and don’t conserve? We certainly hope not!

What Radian Jeans is doing to become more sustainable:

  • Introducing Radian’s Pre-loved Jeans! All returns are now being inspected then commercially washed and re-sold at a discounted price to help put a stop the vicious cycle of trashing jeans and to reduce our carbon emissions by selling second-hand! 

  • Wair: We have incorporated a new system that gets rid of the guess work in finding your perfect size online. By answering simple questions about your body type, Wair will tell you your perfect size for our jeans which will help eliminate the need for returns. 

We are going green, and you should too!

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