We've all experienced buying something online that wasn't quite right. Maybe it doesn't look the same in-person or doesn't fit how it's supposed to. Whatever the reason, the decision to return it has been made. Back in the packaging it goes, straight back to the place it came from.
But what actually happens to online returns? The truth is the majority of them end up in landfill.
Retailers have admitted the amount of returned items they receive is "overwhelming." That's not a surprise to hear when 30% of all products purchased online end up being returned.
Retailers don't have the technology to handle returns and are reluctant to invest their enormous profits into the processes required to do it. It's more cost effective to send returns to landfill, even if they're perfectly wearable.
Although businesses are now trying to combat the issue of unwanted purchases. Their interest in the environmental impact of customer returns has more to do with protecting their profits than reducing the harm done to the planet.
Many online retailers now charge for delivery and have restocking fees. This only pushes the cost onto their consumers who have to choose between keeping an item that isn't quite right, or paying for the privilege of being able to return it.
What happens to jewellery returns?
Returns are an essential part of shopping online. Not every purchase is going to work out because how something looks on a screen isn't always how we imagine it looking once it's in our hands.
1 in 3 fashion purchases are sent back so it's important these returns avoid being sent to landfill.
We don't get many returns at Oh My Clumsy Heart. But when we do, we want to handle them in the most eco-friendly way possible.
One of the greatest things about sustainable jewellery is it can be recycled. However, the recycling process isn't the most sustainable option and is best avoided, if possible.
Our solution is to resell customer returns in our zero waste jewellery sale. Unwanted returns are sold alongside samples and seconds; jewellery that has been used as props or produced as test samples, and jewellery with minor defects. These are sold as a discount, avoiding the unnecessary process of recycling while making our jewellery even more affordable.