Did you know that in 2020, Americans spent $813 billion online? Millions of those purchases will end up getting sent back and those returns can have a big environmental impact. Over the years shopping has changed a lot. Before we would go to stores and feel or try on the clothing we want to buy. Now, most people prefer online shopping since they provide a variety of options to choose from and because some shops offer free shipping. What exactly happens when we return an item we didnt like? People return on average about 25 percent of what they buy online, compared with about 8 percent of what they buy in stores ( upfront). Instead, they’re often thrown out, even if they’re still brand new. About 5 billion pounds of returned goods end up in landfills each year which is shocking right. I read that all types of clothing gets thrown out because companies don’t put those items back on sale. Some returns get sent to discount or thrift stores, while things like electronics could get stripped for parts. Other unwanted could still end up in the garbage eventually.

I am a person who usually buys online and I had no clue about what happens to returned items. It is important to be careful when shopping online. Now that I am aware of how shopping can lead to environmental problems I will be careful when purchasing items.

What are your thoughts on online returns?

image_printPrint this page.


0 0 votes
Rate This Post
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
March 28, 2022 3:41 pm

Good day, Sayra. 
Your article, “Why Online Returns Are Bad,” astonished me because I had never considered what happened to returned items and did not expect them to be thrown away. Given that I am an internet consumer, this is something I would like to learn more about. 
“People return on average approximately 25% of what they buy online, compared to about 8% of what they buy in stores (upfront),” you said, and that struck a chord with me. This, I believe, places a great deal of responsibility on both online consumers and firms who offer things online. Inquiring about how our favorite online stores handle returned goods in an environmentally responsible manner would be a terrific idea.

March 14, 2022 2:17 am

Hello Sayra

Your post, “Why online returns are bad,” surprised me because I never even wondered what was done with returned products, and I did not expect that they were actually thrown out. This is something I would look for more information on, considering that I am an online shopper.
Something that stood out to me was when you mentioned, “People return on average about 25 percent of what they buy online, compared with about 8 percent of what they buy in stores ( upfront).” I think this puts a lot of accountability on us as online consumers AND businesses that sell products online. It would be a great idea to inquire if our favorite online shops deal with returned goods in an environmentally responsible manner and opt to stop buying from companies that contribute to the issue.
Thank you for this very interesting writing. I hope to read more of what you write because it is evident that you concern yourself with very important issues, such as our environment.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jade

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


Email allisonpr@gmail.com Call or Text 917-612-3006

Missions on Youth Voices
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account