Returnly, a post-purchase payments company, on Wednesday announced a new product, Green Returns, to help mitigate the negative environmental impacts of the returns process, according to a company press release.
The solution is designed to help companies selling items that cannot be reused, such as products within the beauty or intimates categories. Because these particular items cannot usually be resold because of the threat of potential health risks, the returns process can often times prove more harm than good, the company said.
Through Green Returns, Returnly gives brands the opportunity to offer "returnless refunds" in which a customer will be granted a monetary refund for their purchase without having to ship the item back to the company.
Returnly, a service that works with merchants to give instant credit to consumers who make returns, is expanding its product offerings. With the launch of Green Returns, the company hopes to mitigate the unnecessary waste produced and emissions released from returning one-use items a company ultimately cannot sell again.
"If those products have to be thrown out once they arrive back at a warehouse, they're just being added to the 5 billion pounds of retail returns that end up in landfills each year," a company spokesperson told Retail Dive in an email.
Green Returns' "returnless refunds" eliminate the need to ship unwanted products back, while offering consumers a monetary refund for the item.
Returnly works with a number of retailers, including Outdoor Voices, Untuckit and women's intimates brand Thinx, which sells items that fall into the single use category. "It just makes good business sense to reward our best customers instead of moving forward with a return that cannot be resold," Brendan Hastings, vice president of engineering and digital product at Thinx, said in a statement.
With the growth of e-commerce also comes an increase in e-commerce returns, which accounts for a $150 billion market. In a report around last year's holiday season, business-to-business marketplace B-Stock found that 11% to 13% of holiday purchases are returned and that the cost to process an online return is double that to sell it. The U.S. Postal Service estimated that between 25% and 30% of purchases made online are returned each year.
"Traditional return policies don't give direct-to-consumer brands the flexibility or freedom needed to meet modern shoppers' expectations," Returnly CEO and founder Eduardo Vilar said in a statement. "We built Green Returns to help these mission-driven companies live out their values, putting the customer and the planet front and center."