An investigation into Amazon has recently revealed that it destroys millions of brand-new items including televisions, books, and more that it cannot sell.
Goods still in their packaging are either dumped in a landfill or incinerated. The horrifying waste was discovered by undercover investigators who secretly filmed in one of the multi-billion-pound company’s enormous warehouses.
The undercover reporters found an area called the “destruction zone” where they filmed staff loading brand new toys, unused kitchen equipment and flat-screen TVs into bins to be transported to dumps.
Cameras fitted to a drone tailed a truck that was jam packed with expensive consumer goods from an Amazon warehouse to dump as well as landfill site.
The investigation mainly focused on Amazon’s operation in France but it was later found that the practice is also followed in Britain.
A Daily Mail reporter posing as a worker at an Amazon warehouse asked what happens to unsold goods, a manager replied:
“Some are returned but some are also destroyed.”
When asked a series of detailed questions, including if it destroys unused goods in the UK, they refused to answer. A spokesmen instead shared the following:
“For unsold products we partner with a number of charities including In Kind Direct, which works with non-profit organizations to distribute goods to charities across the UK.”
Company bosses revealed how Amazon charges around $28 for about a foot of space to store their product but the cost jumps to $552 a year for the exact same space after six months and then $1,105 after a year.
Suppliers report that when their products do not sell, they pay Amazon to destroy it as they cannot afford to have them returned or continue to be stored. Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said:
“Amazon should be completely ashamed of themselves. This is not proper business practice and I would encourage them to review the commercial arrangements they have with their suppliers.”
While Chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee, Labour MP Mary Creagh, commented:
“This is both shocking and heartbreaking to see. At a time when millions are struggling to make ends meet and afford everyday essentials, it is scandalous that unused products are simply being destroyed when they could be given to people in need. On top of that, this kind of policy has disastrous consequences for the environment. Amazon was one of the worst performing retailers in the Audit Committee’s recent inquiry and it is shocking to see these destructive policies are now widespread across the company.”
In the documentary, investigators obtained official Amazon figures that showed over three million brand-new products were destroyed in France last year alone.
Amazon has over 300 “fulfillment centers” worldwide — each one being as big as ten football fields.
In the program, the boss of a Chinese stationary company, Zhongwang Zheng, revealed how Amazon in France has destroyed hundreds upon hundreds of his unsold goods.
“Amazon UK sells our products. The UK is our main storage centre but Amazon has destroyed our products there. After around six months or a year, if the goods are not sold Amazon will start charging storage fees. But the charges are very high so Amazon either throws the goods away or ships them back to China. But the cost of having products shipped back is too high for a factory like ours. Amazon will sometimes advise us to change the price, but sometimes they will advise us to destroy products. My personal view is that if products don’t sell, Amazon should donate them to charity rather than throw them away.”