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除了垃圾场 被退货的新商品还有什么去处

更新时间:2019/5/1 7:15:34 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Your brand new returns end up in landfill
除了垃圾场 被退货的新商品还有什么去处

You’ve ordered a new pair of shoes online. They arrive; you rush to the front door and cradle the box as you lift off the lid. You un-tie the laces, guide them toward your feet and… bummer, they don’t fit. So, back in the box they go and an hour later you drop them at the local collections store. It’s disappointing, but hey, the shoes have never been worn and they’ll be making their way to a new home soon. Right? Wrong.

你在网上买了一双新鞋。鞋子送到,你冲到门口,小心翼翼地抱回鞋盒,打开盖子,解开鞋带,上脚试穿。惨了,鞋子不合脚。于是你又把鞋放回盒子里,一小时后,拿给了本地一家二手店。虽然这很令人失望, 但这双鞋从来没穿过,应该很快就有新买家了。是这样吧?并非如此。

So what does happen to our apparel when we order online and then return the items? The reality is that much of it simply ends up in landfill. That is, once its been shipped all over the country, or even the globe, a few times.

那么,被我们退货的网购衣服最后都去哪儿了呢?事实上,大部分都被当作垃圾填埋了。在填埋前,这些商品还曾在全国各地,甚至是全世界运送了好几次。

Each year in the US alone, customers return approximately 3.5 billion products, of which only 20% are actually defective according to Optoro, a company which specialises in returns logistics.

Optoro是一家专门从事退货物流的公司,公司表示,仅在美国每年就有大约35亿件商品被退回,其中只有20%是残次品。

Sarah Needham from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at University of the Arts London says the flow of goods to customers and back to retailers is flawed both from an economic and environmental perspective.

伦敦艺术大学可持续时装中心的尼德汉姆(Sarah Needham)表示,无论是从经济还是环境的角度来看,消费者和零售商间的物流都有问题。

“We know that many of the products that are returned end up in landfill before we even use them which only adds to the vast amounts of used items already ending up in landfill... These products use precious resources which are becoming scarce and we are throwing them away unnecessarily,” says Needham.

“很多被退回的商品还没用过就被填埋了,本已堆积如山的废物垃圾雪上加霜。这些商品都是用宝贵的资源制成的,这些资源越来越稀缺,但我们却扔掉了。”尼德汉姆说。

It turns out that returns not only create a giant carbon footprint, but a real headache for companies. That new pair of shoes you sent back, with the open box and the untied laces, needs to be handled differently to, say, a t-shirt with a rip in it. Many companies simply don’t have the technology in place to handle these nuances in returned goods, so it is often most profitable for them to sell them cheaply to discounters via a web of shipping, driving and flying them around the globe, or to simply truck them to the dump.

事实证明,退货不仅会大大增加碳排放,还让企业头疼不已。你寄回的那双新鞋,鞋盒开过,鞋带是散的,跟其他被退还的商品,譬如破掉的T恤相比,处理方法是不同的。许多公司并没有区别对待退货商品的技术,所以往往会选择利润最高的方式处理——通过海运、陆运和空运将商品运送到全球各地的折扣店低价出售,或者干脆一卡车拉到垃圾场。

Optoro estimates that 5 billion pounds of waste is generated through returns each year, contributing 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The returns system is horrendously inefficient according to Carly Llewellyn, Senior Director of Marketing at Optoro: “Historically the way retailers have handled returns is they get a bunch of items back to a store or warehouse, usually they’ll sit for several months because they don’t have tech to know what to do with them, eventually they’ll go to a wholesaler or liquidator, through all these middle men to try and resell them. It’s bad for environment - as items are shipped around the country so much - and bad for retailers who make hardly any money.”

据Optoro估计,退货每年产生50亿磅垃圾,向大气中排放1500万吨二氧化碳。该公司的高级营销总监卢埃林(Carly Llewellyn)表示退货系统的效率低得可怕。她说:“零售商通常会把退货商品堆放在商店库房或者仓库里,一放就是几个月,因为根本不知道如何处理。最终,这些商品会被卖给批发商或清算人这些中间商来转售。被运往全国各地的商品数量多如牛毛,不仅会破坏环境,对零售商也不是什么好事,因为几乎赚不到钱。”

Clothes and shoes already go through so many environmentally harmful processes, from making the fabric (often out of fossil fuels) 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, only to ultimately end up in a pile on a landfill site because they couldn’t easily be routed to a new home.

衣服和鞋子的制造过程已经对环境造成了严重破坏——制作布料要用化石燃料,染色会使用有毒的化学试剂,工厂大规模生产时向空气中排放二氧化碳,衣物又在全世界运来运去。可到头来,因为退货商品很难找到新买家,最后只能被当成垃圾填埋掉。

It’s an issue we don’t tend to hear much about. We know that sourcing fashion items like cotton, leather and wool can cause habitat degradation, and that manufacturing processes cause climate change and pollute our oceans (17-20% of all industrial water pollution is caused by the dyeing of textiles in manufacturing, according to a 2016 report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature). But what about the rest of the fashion supply chain?

这是一个我们鲜有耳闻的问题。我们知道购买棉、皮革和羊毛制品等时尚品会导致动植物栖息地退化,产品的制造过程会导致气候变化和海洋污染(国际自然保护联盟2016年的一份报告指出,17% - 20%的工业用水污染是因为纺织品印染)。那么时尚供应链的其他环节呢?

Optoro believes it has a viable solution. Its software helps retailers and manufacturers resell unsold and excess items more easily. They offer a multitude of options for retailers, including a website to re-sell their goods, called Blinq, as well as helping with re-routing items to donation, store shelves, Amazon or eBay. They estimate their work helps reduce landfill waste by 70%.

Optoro宣称找到了解决办法。该公司设计了一款软件,可以帮助零售商和制造商更容易二次销售没卖出去或是多余的商品。他们还为零售商提供了多种选择,比如可以在一个名为Blinq的网站上重新销售商品,也可以将退回的商品捐赠出去,或者卖给商店、亚马逊(Amazon)或易趣(eBay)。公司估计这些措施能减少70%的堆填垃圾。

“Our tech uses a lot of different data sources to figure out exactly what to do with each different item. For example a pair of shoes that have only been taken out of the box, and are still in perfect condition, we will put straight on the website,” says Llewellyn.

“我们的技术采用了很多不同的数据源,能准确找出不同商品的处理方法。例如,一双只是从盒里拿出来过但没有任何问题的鞋子,我们会直接放在网站上。”卢埃林说。

Co-founders Tobin Moore and Adam Vitarello came up with the idea 11 years ago when they were working to help individuals resell one-off items on eBay from a store in their garage.

公司的联合创始人摩尔(Tobin Moore)和维塔雷洛(Adam Vitarello )11年前想出了这个点子,当时他们在自己的车库里,帮一家商店的顾客在易趣网上转售所购买的一次性商品。

“They had a lot of retail stores come to them and say, ‘We have all these returned shoes from last season that are excess and we don’t know what to do with them, can you help us resell them,’” says Llewellyn. The pair realised if they started doing the same but for big retailers they could tap into a much bigger market, and so they started building the Optoro software.

卢埃林说:“有很多零售商店找上门说,‘上一季的鞋子有好多退货,我们不知道该怎么处理,你能帮我们转卖吗?’”两人意识到,如果为大型零售商提供同样的服务,市场将会广阔得多,因此他们开始开发Optoro软件。

Needham is encouraged to see organisations recognise the issue of waste from returns and offer solutions to reduce the flow of clothing and footware to landfill and preserve the energy and resources that go into producing these items.

尼德汉姆欣喜地看到,很多机构认识到了退货产生垃圾的问题,并提供解决方案,减少流入垃圾场的衣物和鞋袜数量,节约生产这些物品所需的能源和资源。

Yet, despite the obvious environmental issues, the fast fashion business is still rapidly expanding. A 2016 report by Greenpeace shows that, “Clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014…The average person buys 60 per cent more items of clothing every year”. And, with a booming world population estimated to reach 9 billion people by 2050, solutions that ensure our returns can be reused or recycled are going to be vital.

然而,尽管存在明显的环境问题,快销时尚行业仍在迅速扩张。绿色和平组织2016年的一份报告显示,“2000年至2014年,全世界服装产量翻了一番……平均每人每年衣服的购买量增加了60%。”到2050年,世界人口预计将暴增到90亿,确保退货被再次使用或回收利用的解决方案将至关重要。

Ann Starodaj, Senior Director of Sustainability at Optoro, says that while consumer habits might still be harmful, creating a profitable and environmentally friendly fashion model from start to finish is the way forward: “I don’t think people are going to stop buying stuff, but creating a business model where you’re making it easier for them to make sustainable choices is the money shot,” she says.

Optoro公司可持续部门的高级主管斯塔罗达(Ann Starodaj)表示,尽管消费者的习惯可能仍然对环境有害,但打造一个从头到尾都既盈利又环保的时装行业模式才是正确的方向。“我认为人们并不会停止购买,创造一种商业模式让消费者做出更环保的选择才是关键。”

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