'Astonishing Waste': Amazon Destroying Millions of Unsold, Usable Goods Every Year


By Cassandra Fairbanks

Amazon is facing scrutiny after being busted destroying millions of unsold, often brand new, goods every year.

This incredible amount of waste is from just one of the 24 fulfilment centers that the company operates in the UK.

A shocking investigation from ITV News uncovered the company’s bizarre practice, including a leaked document from inside the Dunfermline warehouse showing more than 124,000 items marked ‘destroy’ — and just 28,000 items during the same period that were labelled ‘donate’.

“Undercover filming from inside Amazon’s Dunfermline warehouse reveals the sheer scale of the waste: Smart TVs, laptops, drones, hairdryers, top of the range headphones, computer drives, books galore, thousands of sealed face masks – all sorted into boxes marked ‘destroy,'” the report explains.

A former employee told the outlet, “from a Friday to a Friday our target was to generally destroy 130,000 items a week.”

“I used to gasp. 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,” they said. “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.”

When vendors opt to have their items stored and shipped by Amazon, they are charged a fee for the storage. If an item doesn’t sell, it eventually becomes unprofitable to continue paying for the storage, and the seller will often choose to dispose of it.

Amazon’s UK boss John Boumphrey told ITV News, prior to learning about how much they had uncovered with their investigation, that only a “extremely small” amount of goods are destroyed.

“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. No items are sent to landfill in the UK. As a last resort, we will send items to energy recovery, but we’re working hard to drive the number of times this happens down to zero,” the company said in a statement.

Contrary to Amazon’s claim, the investigation tracked large amounts of items to a landfill.

Greenpeace and other environmental groups are now calling for this practice to stop.

“Stuff that’s not even single use but not being used at all, straight off the production line and into the bin. As long as Amazon’s business model relies on this kind of disposal culture, things are only going to get worse. The government must step in and bring in legislation immediately,” Greenpeace’s Sam Chetan Welsh told ITV News.

For corrections, please email corrections@timcast.com

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18 responses to “‘Astonishing Waste’: Amazon Destroying Millions of Unsold, Usable Goods Every Year”

  1. John_Beart says:

    Interesting! A pet kangaroo would have been cool.😢😢

  2. Natemckam13 says:

    Yes Cassandra! Real news!

  3. arakitai says:

    I think this is the first piece of actual journalism I have read in months. This is interesting. What flavor ice cream Joe Biden eats on Sundays is not. Cassandra, I’d hug you if I wasn’t old and somewhat fat. As it is, I will just thank you.

  4. TimChandler5150 says:

    My brother in law says that in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana you are required to put an additive in diesel fuel that costs more than the fuel itself and is hard to find. It’s supposed to make burning the diesel better for the environment. He says they told him about it when he bought a new diesel pickup truck, and driving it across a couple states to get it home cost a fortune and was a real pain in the ass. Supposedly the cops check your tank if you get pulled over, and they can tell if you are running the additive or not and give you massive fines if you aren’t, kinda like offroad diesel fuel works. Could this have anything to do with the scarcity of truck transporting available in this country?

  5. MaineWolf says:

    Cassandra, I wonder what these places look like in America?

  6. frodolai says:

    That’s why they have prime day to dump those garbages

  7. NathanS says:

    This is the real reason behind the “chip shortage” and the likes. There’s no shortage, places like these are just destroying things for no reason, then the companies can’t keep up with the demand, despite the demand not being there.

  8. apann says:

    Probably why i never got my toothpaste.

  9. Fenrir_G13 says:

    Made in China?

  10. Wrongtimeline says:

    And here is me, re-using the drum from my knackered tumble dryer as a fire pit for the garden. What a chump I am! 🙄

  11. Feddy_Von_Wigglestein says:

    Insane level of waste. You don’t have to be a tree hugger to be disgusted.

  12. saccaed says:

    This practice is normal for logistics. If you look into major shippers and their partners you will find that the returns model for a lot of mid priced goods is to verify then destroy. The logic is as follows: if the repackaging costs and or shipping costs exceed the product sale price, the product is considered for verify and destroy returns. Source: My employer engages in the same practice providing the service to other businesses and our competitors do the same.

    • saccaed says:

      Also is normal practice to destroy housed products, though I only know of the practice through partners that offer the service. My employer likely will engage in the practice if/when they work out a product similar to amazon storage for sellers.

  13. solidhalon says:

    First!

    But, what is Amazon suppose to do? Lower the prices? I mean, if people don’t want the stuff is not going to be sold even if the prices are lowered. Maybe put ting it all under warehouse might alleviate the situation? But again, if people aren’t buying it…

    • Turk_Longwell says:

      If Prices go down far enough, I think people will buy then. Like, if you need a new bathroom shelf for above the toilet, which costs $50, but you’re only willing to spend $20. If they sold for $20, Amazon may get a little profit or no profit, but if they’re not losing money, it should be worth it for them.
      Though I have no faith in what I said. I know these corporations don’t care enough to take that extra step to sell products more affordable that’ll help the lower to middle class.

      • BFairfax123 says:

        OF course you do realize at some point their is no profit in selling items at a loss , at some point your business will begin to loose more money than you can justify taking a loss on . You only get positive press for sales at a loss and that only can be so much of your ad budget . It’s a business after all not a charity .