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February 20, 2024 4 min read

At first, you might think: “What is wrong with online returns? If I find an item unnecessary, it is better to return it rather than throw it away or stock up all house.” But the whole picture is much bigger than it seems.

Increased numbers of returns

It is no secret that free returns are a popular perk of online shopping. However, it is important to remember that this practice can have a harmful impact on our planet.

During the last decade, online shopping become increasingly popular, due to better accessibility, and the ability to compare different prices and retailers. Especially during the pandemic, people learned to safely shop without going out.

However, this also increased product returns, because of incorrect sizing, color choosing, or simply changing their minds. According to some estimates, the return rate for online purchases can be as high as 30%, compared to 8-10% for in-store purchases. It is sad to see these statistics, but there is always a better solution to make a revolutionary change.

What problems do online returns cause to the environment?

The trend of increased returns has negative impacts on the environment in several ways:

❌ The transportation of returned products requires additional energy and fuel, which increases carbon emissions. Meaning, that making a return causes unnecessary transportation, which damages our environment and can even cause rising temperatures, extreme weather, rising sea levels, and spreading diseases. Imagine how these changes harm ecosystems, wildlife animals, endangered species, and marine life too.

Returned products often require repackaging, which also contributes to material waste, that eventually ends up in landfills. Moreover, the disposal of these materials also requires additional resources, such as energy and transportation, which is also quite harmful to Mother Earth. Repackaging also incurs additional costs for manufacturers and retailers, as they must allocate resources to repackaging the returned products, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Made-to-order items, personalized or customized according to the customer's specifications, can be difficult to resell or reuse if returned, leading to a higher environmental impact than off-the-shelf items. The production of made-to-order items involves a significant amount of resources, such as energy, water, materials, and labor. When these items are returned, they may not be resold or reused for a long time, leading to a waste of these resources. In some cases, the items may never be sold, resulting in a complete waste of the production process.

How to reduce unnecessary online returns?

“Bracketing” – also known as “buy-and-try”, is a trend of buying the same product in multiple variations with the intention to return what was not needed.

This trend of bracketing is quite harmful because it leads to higher returns which has a serious environmental impact. Sometimes there are situations, when a return is truly needed, and there is nothing wrong with that. For this reason, menique wants to encourage everyone to do online shopping responsibly and suggests some ways how to avoid unnecessary returns:

✔️Read product descriptions carefully. When buying clothing, accessories, or home décor we recommend you to check the material, size, fit, size guide, and main features.

✔️Check the sizing charts. When buying clothing, it is important to check the fit (oversized, slim, regular, loose, etc.) and take your own measurements to compare with the sizing chart.

✔️Look at customer reviews. Sometimes, you can get valuable information about how the product fits and whether it is true to size.

✔️Contact customer support. At menique, customer support always is willing to help our clients with the most important questions. The main goal is to keep our clients happy and our earth clean.

✔️Consider finding your purchases a new home. If you already made a double order, try to find a way to resell these products locally. Sell them on the “Facebook” marketplace, Vinted, Wallapop, Tradesy or Poshmark, and if that is not an option, consider gifting them to someone, the gift of sustainability will definitely bring a smile.

What role does menique have in online returns?

From menique perspective, we are a sustainable fashion brand, that encourages clients to choose more earth-friendly decisions at every step, including online shopping.

To achieve this, menique offers plastic-free packaging to reduce waste and minimize the environmental impact of shipping.

We also encourage responsible returns by providing detailed product information and sizing guides, and offer customized sizing for made-to-order items, reducing the need for returns due to sizing issues.

Here at menique, we create made-to-order Linen products that offer many benefits to our environment. By creating pieces according to the customer's specifications (mostly color and size), we only produce the necessary amount of products, thus avoiding unnecessary production and reducing waste. This practice also eliminates the need for excess inventory, which can be costly to store and manage.

Overall, the decision to create made-to-order Linen products helps reduce the environmental impact of overproduction and make positive changes for Mother Nature.

menique Linen clothing packed in a plastic-free cardboard shipping box

Additionally, menique uses sustainable materials, such as Linen, Cashmere, and Merino wool, which are durable and long-lasting, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

Also, here you can get exceptional customer service because our customer support team responds kindly to customer needs and questions, and promotes a culture of sustainability where customers are encouraged to make informed and responsible purchasing decisions.

To summarize

It's important to keep in mind that the negative impacts of online shopping returns can have long-term consequences on the environment. The carbon emissions and material waste produced by transportation and repackaging can harm the planet for years to come.

But the good news is that small actions, like being a more attentive shopper, can make a big difference in reducing our harmful environmental impact. By taking the time to read product descriptions, check sizing charts, and look at customer reviews, we can avoid unnecessary returns and reduce our carbon footprint. So, we should all do our part shopping more attentively – it costs nothing but can make a world of difference in creating a sustainable future.