Amazon UK destroys millions of items every year

Amazon destroys millions of items of unsold stock every year, much of which is new and unused, according to an investigation by ITV News.

Undercover footage showed millions of products being destroyed in the e-commerce giant’s Dunfermline warehouse, just one of 24 fulfilment centres operating in the UK.

According to the news organisation, smart TVs, laptops, drones, hairdryers, headphones, computer drives, books, and thousands of sealed face masks are sorted into boxes marked ‘destroy.’

An anonymous former employee from the Amazon warehouse told ITV that over a week-long period, the target for the destruction of products was around 130,000.

"I used to gasp,” said the ex-Amazon staff member. “There's no rhyme or reason to what gets destroyed: Dyson fans, Hoovers, the occasional MacBook and iPad; the other day, 20,000 Covid (face) masks still in their wrappers.”

He added: "Overall, 50 percent of all items are unopened and still in their shrink wrap. The other half are returns and in good condition. Staff have just become numb to what they are being asked to do.”

The products are items that were never sold or have been returned by customers.

“We are working towards a goal of zero product disposal and our priority is to resell, donate to charitable organisations or recycle any unsold products,” an Amazon spokesperson told ITV News. “No items are sent to landfill in the UK. As a last resort, we will send items to energy recovery.”

According to the news broadcaster, Amazon’s hugely successful business model means that many vendors choose to house their stock in the tech giant’s warehouses. But when the products remain unsold, these companies are charged to keep them there – so it is ultimately cheaper to get rid of the goods.

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