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更新時間:2019/5/1 7:15:34 來源:紐約時報中文網 作者:佚名

Your brand new returns end up in landfill
除了垃圾場 被退貨的新商品還有什麼去處

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.

你在網上買了一雙新鞋。鞋子送到,你沖到門口,小心翼翼地抱回鞋盒,打開蓋子,解開鞋帶,上腳試穿。慘了,鞋子不合腳。于是你又把鞋放回盒子里,一小時後,拿給了本地一家二手店。雖然這很令人失望, 但這雙鞋從來沒穿過,應該很快就有新買家了。是這樣吧?並非如此。

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.

那麼,被我們退貨的網購衣服最後都去哪兒了呢?事實上,大部分都被當作垃圾填埋了。在填埋前,這些商品還曾在全國各地,甚至是全世界運送了好幾次。

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是一家專門從事退貨物流的公司,公司表示,僅在美國每年就有大約35億件商品被退回,其中只有20%是殘次品。

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.

倫敦藝術大學可持續時裝中心的尼德漢姆(Sarah Needham)表示,無論是從美高梅官方开户還是環境的角度來看,消費者和零售商間的物流都有問題。

“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.

“很多被退回的商品還沒用過就被填埋了,本已堆積如山的廢物垃圾雪上加霜。這些商品都是用寶貴的資源制成的,這些資源越來越稀缺,但我們卻扔掉了。”尼德漢姆說。

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.

事實證明,退貨不僅會大大增加碳排放,還讓企業頭疼不已。你寄回的那雙新鞋,鞋盒開過,鞋帶是散的,跟其他被退還的商品,譬如破掉的T恤相比,處理方法是不同的。許多公司並沒有區別對待退貨商品的技術,所以往往會選擇利潤最高的方式處理——通過海運、陸運和空運將商品運送到全球各地的折扣店低價出售,或者干脆一卡車拉到垃圾場。

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.”

據Optoro估計,退貨每年產生50億磅垃圾,向大氣中排放1500萬噸二氧化碳。該公司的高級營銷總監盧埃林(Carly Llewellyn)表示退貨系統的效率低得可怕。她說︰“零售商通常會把退貨商品堆放在商店庫房或者倉庫里,一放就是幾個月,因為根本不知道如何處理。最終,這些商品會被賣給批發商或清算人這些中間商來轉售。被運往全國各地的商品數量多如牛毛,不僅會破壞環境,對零售商也不是什麼好事,因為幾乎賺不到錢。”

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.

衣服和鞋子的制造過程已經對環境造成了嚴重破壞——制作布料要用化石燃料,染色會使用有毒的化學試劑,工廠大規模生產時向空氣中排放二氧化碳,衣物又在全世界運來運去。可到頭來,因為退貨商品很難找到新買家,最後只能被當成垃圾填埋掉。

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?

這是一個我們鮮有耳聞的問題。我們知道購買棉、皮革和羊毛制品等時尚品會導致動植物棲息地退化,產品的制造過程會導致氣候變化和海洋污染(國際自然保護聯盟2016年的一份報告指出,17% - 20%的工業用水污染是因為紡織品印染)。那麼時尚供應鏈的其他環節呢?

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宣稱找到了解決辦法。該公司設計了一款軟件,可以幫助零售商和制造商更容易二次銷售沒賣出去或是多余的商品。他們還為零售商提供了多種選擇,比如可以在一個名為Blinq的網站上重新銷售商品,也可以將退回的商品捐贈出去,或者賣給商店、亞馬遜(Amazon)或易趣(eBay)。公司估計這些措施能減少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.

“我們的技術采用了很多不同的數據源,能準確找出不同商品的處理方法。例如,一雙只是從盒里拿出來過但沒有任何問題的鞋子,我們會直接放在網站上。”盧埃林說。

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.

公司的聯合創始人摩爾(Tobin Moore)和維塔雷洛(Adam Vitarello )11年前想出了這個點子,當時他們在自己的車庫里,幫一家商店的顧客在易趣網上轉售所購買的一次性商品。

“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.

盧埃林說︰“有很多零售商店找上門說,‘上一季的鞋子有好多退貨,我們不知道該怎麼處理,你能幫我們轉賣嗎?’”兩人意識到,如果為大型零售商提供同樣的服務,市場將會廣闊得多,因此他們開始開發Optoro軟件。

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.

尼德漢姆欣喜地看到,很多機構認識到了退貨產生垃圾的問題,並提供解決方案,減少流入垃圾場的衣物和鞋襪數量,節約生產這些物品所需的能源和資源。

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,盡管存在明顯的環境問題,快銷時尚行業仍在迅速擴張。綠色和平組織2016年的一份報告顯示,“2000年至2014年,全世界服裝產量翻了一番……平均每人每年衣服的購買量增加了60%。”到2050年,世界人口預計將暴增到90億,確保退貨被再次使用或回收利用的解決方案將至關重要。

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公司可持續部門的高級主管斯塔羅達(Ann Starodaj)表示,盡管消費者的習慣可能仍然對環境有害,但打造一個從頭到尾都既盈利又環保的時裝行業模式才是正確的方向。“我認為人們並不會停止購買,創造一種商業模式讓消費者做出更環保的選擇才是關鍵。”

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