What Really Happens To Amazon Returns

Sending back something you’ve ordered online has never been easier. Returns are often free for buyers, with some sellers even allowing customers to keep the item and receive a full refund. Amazon has made it easy for their customers to make returns by allowing them to drop them off at Kohl’s or Whole Foods — without ever having to box it up or print a label. There is, however, a darker side to the record number of returns flooding warehouses. Aside from the fact that 10.3% of Amazon returns are fraudulent, about a third of the returned simply end up in landfills. That accounts for nearly 6 billion pounds of landfill waste generated a year and 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Of course, somebody has to pay for that, and it normally falls back on the third party-seller. With that coming out of their bottom line, prices inevitably go higher. Amazon has received mounting criticism over the destruction of millions of items, and now the e-commerce giant says it’s “working toward a goal of zero product disposal.”