Shoppers are going to rush out and buy trashy and unnecessary goods the moment lockdown ends – just because they can.
And that so-called “revenge buying” is going to end in a mountain of rubbish, a waste and recycling company fears.
According to London waste management company BusinessWaste.co.uk , the lure of “in person” purchases as non-essential shops reopen next month will clear the shelves, but lead to massive increases in unnecessary waste.*
Company spokesman Mark Hall says, “With more people hitting the London shops and ‘revenge buying’, there is going to be a knock-on effect of more waste being produced by retailers.
“People were splurging and panic-buying at the mere thought of shops closing earlier this year, when they reopen people will be rushing out to spend just because they can again – it will be carnage.”
What is revenge buying?
Revenge buying is a term describing the sudden increase in sales of inessential goods after a period of restriction, such as with the shops being closed due to the lockdown.
Basically, revenge buying can be viewed as the reverse of panic buying, as people tend to stock up on essential items in a panic, but splurge on luxury items after a restriction in an indulgent spree.
“The key part of this is that the items being bought are not essential, they are usually luxury items such as expensive clothes and household goods,” says Mark Hall.
“People will spend their money to ‘reward’ and ‘treat’ themselves for getting through the tough conditions of the lockdown, so as soon as people feel safe and the shops reopen, the spending will begin.”
This has already been happening in China, with floods of shoppers returning to malls spending their money on luxury items, with some saying that being able to shop again gives them a sense of freedom.**
But the lack of open shops hasn’t put off serious shoppers, as online spending has reached a record high accounting for 30% of all UK sales. ***
Company spokesman Mark Hall says, “This is fantastic for the economy, but from a waste point of view if you are shopping online, please make sure you recycle all of the packaging.”
More shopping means more waste
If London follows the trend seen in China of revenge buying, then this means that there will be an increase in waste created by high-street retailers who will be ordering supplies to fill up their shelves in preparation.
Dr Liz Breen from the University of Bradford is an expert in supply and demand, and she warns to prepare supply chains for similar impact here in the UK as was seen in the Far East. ****
BusinessWaste.co.uk’s Mark Hall: Supply chains are not just about getting products on the shelf, it also includes the removal of waste by waste collectors, so we need to be ready to deal with a sharp increase in waste from retailers following the revenge buying trend.
Some local councils have a strict policy on times for waste collections outside of shops, with set hours for deliveries and waste collection before the road is only allowed for pedestrian use only, and businesses can face heavy fines if they leave waste in the street during pedestrian hours.
“Retailers and local councils need to be ready and have extra collections in place in preparation for this surge of sales,” says Hall.
Hall: Waste and recycling is a vital supply chain resource. To get the retail sector as ready as possible for the rush of ‘revenge buying’, so we don’t see mounds of rubbish on the High Street.
“We all have our part to play and we all need to be prepared.”