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I’ve written about the existential problem which is returned merchandise.

It’s a big problem.

In the U.S., alone, Eco-Age claims that clothing returns create more annual carbon dioxide emissions than 3 million cars. (Carbon dioxide is initially emitted through the collection of returns, before increasing as returns are either incinerated or deposited in landfills. Due to the prevalence of synthetic fibers in many fashion items, returns can take up to 100 years to fully decompose, emitting carbon dioxide and methane in the process, as well as leaching harmful substances into the surrounding soil.)

Source: TheFashionLaw

It’s expensive. To responsibly eliminate a polyester blend garment can take hundreds of years. So when millions of people order multiple sizes and then return them, you would think the retailer would be a good shepherd of the planet and maybe re-sell, discount or otherwise prevent those very ugly tights from going into a landfill. For a century. And, while we’re at it, those tights were ugly, they did make your ass look very fat and stank like a chemical plant. ‘K? Just sayin’, ‘boo.

The real source of the problem with this scenario is that retail stores do not prevent ANYTHING from going to a landfill. They do not resell it. They put it on a diesel tanker, burning bunker fuel and ship it to Ghana.

So just in the relocation of these clothes (not considering their manufacture or sourcing) produces more CO2 emissions than entire nations. In fact, 15 ships account for more CO2 emissions than all of the cars on the planet.

Shipping containers produce more greenhouse gas emissions than some small countries. According to The Essential Daily Briefing: “It has been estimated that just one of these container ships, the length of around six football pitches, can produce the same amount of pollution as 50 million cars.

The video below makes me want to wear underwear to client meetings. And even then…



It’s dire. And it’s inexcusable. And we can do something about it.

cgk.ink is working with Stripe Climate to offset our products’ carbon pollution. It’s an emergency and we are trying to respond. READ MORE