While users around the world were looking for the best deal on Prime Day, the TV channel ITV published an article describing a rather questionable (not illegal) practice of Amazon. The e-commerce giant it destroys millions of unsold products every year. In reality, the Seattle company is not directly responsible for this waste because it follows the directions of the producers.
Cheaper to destroy than to pay the deposit
The discovery was made by an ITV News reporter, using a hidden camera inside the Amazon warehouse in Dunfermline (Scotland). As you can see in the video there are thousands of products stacked in a “destruction zone”. On the boxes that contain them it says “destroy”. It is about unsold items (new or returned by the customer). BTI believes they should be given to charity. Instead they are thrown into large dumpsters, taken away by trucks and dumped at recycling centers or in rubbish dump.
A former employee stated that, only in the Dunfermline warehouse, they are destroyed over 130,000 products per week. 50% of them are still in the original packaging, while the other half are customer returns. A document shows that over 124,000 products were destroyed in one week in April, while only 28,000 were donated.
However, Amazon is not directly responsible. Many companies keep their products in Amazon warehouses. As storage costs increase over time, companies prefer to destroy them. It is evident that this business model generates a huge amount of garbage.
Amazon released the following statement:
We are working towards zero product disposal and our priority is to resell, donate to charities or recycle unsold products. No items are sent to landfill in the UK. As a last resort, we will send the items to energy recovery, but we are working hard to reduce the number of times this happens to zero.