Read Part 1: The Environmental Impacts of eCommerce


The environmental impacts of eCommerce


In part 2 of The Environmental Impacts of eCommerce, we’ll be touching on two final impacts of eCommerce and in what ways you can specifically start reducing your carbon footprint and making a positive impact for your shoppers and the earth you share.


the environmental impacts of eCommerce


eCommerce Returns Account for 5 Billion Pounds of Landfill Waste Every Year

In 2020, the eCommerce sector saw over $428 billion in returns, with an average return rate of 30% for online purchases and between 8% and 10% for brick-and-mortar stores. With a quarter of all consumers returning between 5% and 15% of all online purchases, this results in over 5 billion pounds of returned products and 15 million metric tons of carbon emissions produced every year.

Learn more about the environmental impact of eCommerce returns.


The environmental impacts of ecommerce


Reduce Your Contribution to the Carbon Emissions Caused by eCommerce Returns

Making your return policy prominent and easy to read for customers is key when reducing overall returns.  Help your buyers locate, read, and understand your return policy before making a purchase and blindly returning items. Include important information like return shipping and restocking fees (if any) and define the acceptable conditions of returns. Be clear about what is and isn’t returnable.

Additionally, prioritizing exchanges over returns will help your eCommerce lower its return rate AND its carbon footprint.  Making exchanges the preferred option helps direct customers to an eco-friendly choice while still giving them the freedom to decide.

Learn more tips and tricks about avoiding returns altogether.


the environmental impacts of eCommerce


Growing eCommerce Sales Contribute to 20 – 50 Million Metric Tons of E-waste Every Year.

As the world of technology grows in popularity, so does the global eCommerce sales of electronics.  Every year, 20-50 million metric tons of e-waste is produced by mass disposing of items like 

  • Cellphones
  • Laptops
  • Keyboards
  • Televisions

Which have created the fastest growing waste stream in America.  E-waste is not limited to consumers, with companies contributing industrial e-waste like

  • Vehicle batteries
  • Refrigeration systems
  • Automated equipment
  • IT equipment

One of the biggest environmental impacts of e-waste is the toxic chemicals it releases.  When exposed to heat, e-waste emits chemical substances that damage the atmosphere, toxify groundwater, and dead-zone nearby ecosystems. In a study conducted by the United Nations Environmental Programme, out of 300 school children living near Dandora, the biggest dumpsite in east Africa, half the children tested positive for respiratory problems and 30% had blood abnormalities.  Both are indicators of heavy-metal poisoning caused by the toxicity of discarded electronics.


The environmental impacts of ecommerce


Reduce the Amount of E-waste Being Sent to Landfills 

As an eCommerce company, it’s important to take a holistic approach to minimize your impact on the planet. By partnering with electronic recycling programs or joining the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge, you’re able to responsibly recycle electronics from in-house tech equipment to industrial batteries.

Additionally, by repairing devices once they’re damaged or outdated instead of replacing them, you can reduce additional waste and save money.  Those laptops you plan on throwing away for lagging problems could need a simple hardware update and they’ll be ready to tackle the next round of staff. 

Care with Falcon

In today’s world, eCommerce companies could drive themselves mad trying to tackle every good cause. .  That’s why, when you partner with Falcon, you contribute to sustainability practices that would otherwise be overwhelming.  Here at Falcon, we are experts in sustainable fulfillment. Reduce your carbon footprint, appeal to growing eco-trends, and show the world how much you love the planet by delivering a green experience time and time again.  


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