American consumers shopped to excess once again this holiday season, bringing us now to the inevitable in the days post-Christmas/Hannukah: a lot of this crap has to go back. According to a forecast by retail tech firm Optoro, holiday returns could cap out at a record $100 billion this year, the Financial Times reports. And that's just for goods purchased in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What a waste — As FT notes, a lot of this is the result of online shopping, which has made it easier than ever to buy in bulk and variety, and simply return what you don't like. That's... extremely wasteful no matter how you slice it.
On top of whatever footprint those items initially accounted for to make their way to your hands, sending them back only adds to the problem of pollution and, at the end of the day, many returned products just end up in a landfill. Today's report comes on the heels of a UPS estimate that about 1.9 million packages are likely to be returned on Jan. 2, or "National Returns Day." As consumers, we really need to do better.