My New Year Spruce Tree

Spruce trees are one of those goods that lose their value in an instant. On the morning of 31st December, people sell them as Christmas trees. At the evening of the same day, unsold spruce trees litter the dumpsters. In Latvia people start selling Christmas trees in mid December, and 31st December is the last date on which trees are still available for sale. Then, at the evening of 31st December, all the unsold trees become garbage and are thrown out. [Read more…]

What a Waste

Now that the Christmas is over, some of you might have gifts that you don’t want. If so, you might be thinking about returning an unwanted holiday gift back to the store. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance your holiday returns will end up in a landfill. Each year, consumers return a lot of goods, a significant portion of which are processed during the Christmas season. Unfortunately, only some of returns make it back to shop shelves.

Once a product is returned, the retailer has to deal with the cost of assessing the item and repackaging it. Sadly, especially with low value items, often it is cheaper for the retailer to throw out returned goods rather than trying to resell them. On top of the sorting and repackaging problems, there’s also the time limit to get certain products resold. Returned electronics, for example, can lose much of their value in just a few months. This is why many returns are sold for pennies to liquidators and discounters before ending up at regional wholesalers, who send the goods to pawn shops, dollar stores or out of the country. Retailers have worked out logistics how to get goods from the place of manufacture to the shop shelves. Reverse logistics (getting good from customers back to the shops) are severely lacking. [Read more…]

Why Gender-Specific Christmas Gifts Are Terrible

Giving other people Christmas gifts that are bound to land directly in the landfill without being used, appreciated, and cherished is a waste of money, and it also causes unnecessary harm for the environment. If we, as a society, have collectively decided that Christmas gifts are obligatory, then we should at least strive to give other people something they will like or at least find useful. Therefore: Don’t just give gifts to other people based on their gender. It can terribly backfire. [Read more…]

Holiday Gifts and the Christmas Shopping Spree

Holidays used to be about spending a few work-free days with your loved ones. So far so good, that’s all nice. Unfortunately, nowadays instead people are coerced to participate in a stressful shopping frenzy instead. People are reminded to buy some gift for everybody they know, otherwise they are somehow guilty of failing to show love. As if giving a weird-looking acrylic sweater to your 2nd cousin proved that you love them. As if failing to give some gift demonstrated that you don’t love some person. As if love could be reduced to stuff that you buy in a shop. As if love could be measured in how expensive some gift is. [Read more…]