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Shoppers are expected to return up to $120 billion worth of holiday gifts this year a?? the process is costly to retailers, annoying to consumers, and harmful to the planet

Shoppers are expected to return up to $120 billion worth of holiday gifts this year a?? the process is costly to retailers, annoying to consumers, and harmful to the planet
Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images


Shoppers are expected to return up to $120 billion worth of holiday products, Optoro estimates.




Retailers spend as much as 66% of the price of a product to process a return.




But it's costly for the environment, too: About 6 billion pounds of returns ends up in landfills.


Chances are, if you exchanged gifts this holiday season, you're currently saddled with a small mountain of stuff to return now that the holidays have passed.As you check retailers' return policies and track down boxes to ship things back, you may be wondering: what will happen to all that stuff?A The answer is complicated, expensive, and, in some cases, wasteful: Some companies will take a product back and resell it, others will tell you to just keep it and issue a refund anyway, and still others will dump your unwanted items in a landfill.A And the 2021 holiday shopping season is expected to create even more returns than usual. Up to $120 billion worth of products will be sent back through the supply chain between Thanksgiving and the end of January, and two out of three shoppers will return at least one gift, according to estimates from reverse logistics firm Optoro.A 
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