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Why your brand-new returns end up in landfill, not a warehouse.

Why your brand-new returns end up in landfill, not a warehouse.

When consumers return an item of clothing, they think that it will be shipped back to a warehouse, processed, then resold. Yet, due to the relentless and unsustainable nature of fast fashion, returns commonly end up in landfill. This is because it is cheaper for the company to throw them in landfill than to process them, as this would outweigh how much it cost to produce the garment in the first place.

Each year, it is estimated that 5 billion pounds worth of waste is generated through returns. Why is this an issue? It can take up to 200 years for just one item of clothing to degrade in landfill and can produce toxic chemicals as they degrade.

In January, the Chilean government accused the West of illegally dumping 39,000 tons of unsold clothing in the Atacama Desert. When will corporations and countries begin to take responsibility for the negative externalities of fast fashion, and address this issue?

Want to hear more about Rio and how our team can support your sustainability journey? Get in touch.