Fast fashion retailers increase return fees to reduce waste

Fast fashion retailers, including Zara, Asos and H&M are increasing return fees to reduce waste.

The moves come after Statistica research found 25% of ‘unsellable’ returns are recycled while 50% end up in landfill and 35% are incinerated.

As reported by This is Money, many items are deemed ‘unsellable’ due to the resources and cash needed to process, clean, repackage and redistribute them, or if the item is ‘out of fashion.’

H&M head of investor relations Joseph Ahlberg said the retailer had introduced the fee “to remind consumers to be mindful of making returns due to the climate impact”.

“It’s a win for the consumer, helping them to make good choices, it’s a win for the environment, with less transport and emissions, and it also will benefit our model I think over time,” he added.

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The latest statistics were shown to fashion businesses leaders at a British Retail Consortium (BRC) meeting last week.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson, chief of the BRC, said tackling unsustainable returns would benefit retailers’ net profit as well as the environment.

Previous research has also shown fashion retailers need to improve their resale platforms.

A Trove study found that fast fashion creates around 11.5kg of carbon dioxide for each clothing item, but only reduces emissions by 0.7% with resale programmes.

Circular economyNewsRetail

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