Before I even consider buying something online, I check to see if the company has a good shipping and return policy—and I’m only adding items to my cart if the retailer offers free shipping and returns. I mean, how will I know if I need a 10-pound weighted blanket or a 15-pound one? Will this sloth rug actually work in my living room? I can't know for sure until I open the package. And with holiday gift-giving just around the corner, the most reassuring words to both say and hear are: “There’s a receipt if you don’t like it.”
Well, UPS released a harrowing prediction that’s making me reconsider they way I shop. This December, they expect consumers to return one million packages to e-commerce retailers daily. That’s right, one million packages every single day. And those are just returns; those packages have to be shipped out to homes in the first place, and presumably some will actually like and keep their purchases.
If one million weren’t a large enough number, 1.6 million packages are expected to be returned the week before Christmas, when retailers are likely to offer more promotions. January isn’t safe either. On January 2, UPS expects 1.9 million packages to be returned through their network, a 26 percent increase from last year. The insane number of returns on that day earned the name “National Return Day” from UPS.
I’m not a scientist, but all the cardboard, plastic, and carbon emissions from the trucks driving back millions of daily returns can’t be great for the planet. And it’s not likely that e-commerce shopping culture will shift anytime soon—we're still getting used to how awesomely convenient it is. But consider this upsetting forecast a solid reminder to remember environmental cost before proceeding to checkout.
Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.
You Might Also Like