It’s not just your family: Returning presents has become a holiday tradition in the United States. This year, $100 billion worth of product is expected to be returned between Thanksgiving and New Year, up by $6 billion from last year. Companies are competing to make it easy to send these gifts back through policies such as free return shipping, in-store returns, and instant refunds.
But returning product comes at a staggering environmental cost. There’s an enormous carbon footprint associated with sending products back and forth across the globe.