According to the CNBC article, David Sobie, co-founder, and CEO of Happy Returns, highlights the increasing return rates in online shopping compared to in-store purchases. With the rise of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic, the convenience of online shopping has become more enticing for consumers. In 2020, global e-commerce sales reached an impressive $26.7 trillion, leading to a surge in returns.

In the past, customers had to bear the cost of shipping and returns when buying items online. However, many businesses now offer free shipping and easy return procedures to remain competitive with giants like Amazon and Walmart. It has become a determining factor for customers when choosing where to purchase.

Although free returns may seem beneficial to customers, they come with hidden environmental costs. The packaging materials and transportation involved in returning items contribute to the carbon footprint of online shopping. Shockingly, only 54% of packaging materials are recycled, resulting in around 5 billion pounds in landfills yearly. Moreover, returned items often go to waste and release harmful chemicals into the environment. As online shopping continues to grow, it is crucial to recognize the environmental impact of returns and take steps to minimize it.

To make more responsible purchasing decisions, here are some actions you can take:

  1. Read the product description thoroughly: By carefully reviewing the product description, including measurements, sizes, and multiple photos, you can avoid receiving items that don’t meet your expectations. Don’t solely rely on a single picture but explore the product from every angle.
  2. Avoid impulse shopping: Impulse buying is common, with 90% of Americans admitting to indulging in it. Establish a budget and reward yourself when you stick to it to curb this behaviour. Avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach and purchasing clothes when you’re emotional. Limiting email signups can also help reduce the temptation to shop excessively.
  3. Extend the life of your products: Fast fashion has severe environmental implications, with excessive water usage, microfiber pollution, and high clothing consumption. You can extend their lifespan and minimize waste by reusing, recycling, and reselling your clothes. If the clothes are still in good condition, consider donating them to others in need.
  4. In online shopping, it can be challenging to gauge the quality and suitability of a product without firsthand experience. That’s where MyBranz comes in. MyBranz is a platform that connects you with real users who have already used the products you’re interested in. Their valuable insights and feedback can help you make informed decisions before purchasing. By leveraging the power of community reviews, MyBranz empowers you to confidently navigate the vast landscape of online shopping, ensuring that you find the right products that meet your needs and expectations.

Being an informed and conscious online shopper is more critical than ever before. While free shipping and returns can be enticing, it’s essential to consider other factors when purchasing. Take a few moments to evaluate whether the company you’re buying from aligns with your values and if their products meet your needs. If not, don’t hesitate to explore other options. By doing so, you’ll benefit financially and contribute to a healthier planet.

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