Rose posted an article on the BBC on the FCP Facebook group about our new returns ending up in landfills. This caught my eye as it reinforces our throwaway unconscious culture. I was shocked when I read that 5 billion pounds of waste is generated through returns.
When I returned things to a store, post-office or local collections store I just assumed that they would be making their way to a new home soon. The reality is that much of it simply ends up in landfill once it has been shipped all over the country, or even the globe, a few times.
As a result of the rising ecological crisis we are currently facing and the uncertainty of trade resulting from the political turmoil, I thought brands would be doing everything they can to conserve their stock and resources. However, I now understand that many companies don’t have the technology in place to handle these numbers of returned goods.
I thought that fast-fashion and new collections being brought out on a weekly basic were the primary causes of garments ending up in landfills, however I never imagined new items would be contributing to this too. These products use precious resources which are becoming scarce. This goes against the emerging minimalist lifestyle: stripping away the unnecessary and excess because we are throwing them away unnecessarily.
Garments already go through so many environmentally harmful processes, from making the fabric to dyeing it using toxic chemicals. Mass manufacturing in factories pumps carbon emissions into the air, and clothes are then shipped across the globe multiple times. This is why I find it so shocking that some of these pieces aren’t even wore once, just because they couldn’t easily be routed to a new home.
Because of our technological advanced society, I would hope that brands are developing software as we speak to tackle this alarming issue. Retailers need a way to resell unsold and excess items more easily. I still struggle to comprehend that despite the obvious environmental issues, the fast fashion business is still rapidly expanding. With the population ever increasing, solutions that ensure our returns can be reused or recycled are going to be vital. I don’t believe that people will stop buying stuff, but making it easier for consumers to make sustainable choices is I believe the way forward.