5 billion pounds of returned items end up in landfills

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The holiday gifts that you plan on returning have a good chance of ending up in a landfill. 

Returned merchandise adds about five billion pounds of trash to landfills every year, according to Optoro, a firm that helps retailers manage returns.

Americans return about $380 billion worth of goods every year — $90 billion of that during the holidays. 

But the company estimates that only half of returns make their way back to the shelves. 

The others are often damaged or their boxes are open, so they end up being resold to secondary retailers or just tossed away.

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