In brief: Have you ever wondered what Amazon does with all the unsold stock stashed in their warehouses? According to the company, most stock is resold, donated, and recycled, while only a small part is destroyed. However, a new report claims that the biggest online retailer is destroying up to 200,000 items per week at its Dunfermline warehouse alone.
In an investigation led by ITV News, the outlet shared a video with footage recorded inside Amazon's Dunfermline warehouse showing consumer electronics, jewelry, books, packages of face masks, and more being flagged for destruction. Regardless if they are new or returned, items flagged to be destroyed are sent to the "destruction zone" of the warehouse.
During an interview before the publication of the investigation, John Boumphrey, VP country manager UK at Amazon, said that the amount of items destroyed is "extremely small." The company also stated that nothing is sent to landfills, and as a "last resort," the goods are sent to energy recovery.
On the other hand, there's a former Amazon employee stating that the weekly target of destroyed items was about 130,000 from which about half is new, and the other half are returned products. In certain weeks, the number of items marked to be destroyed can even reach 200,000 items.
The news outlet also had access to a leaked document detailing the number of items flagged for destruction and donation during one week of April. While 124,000 items were destroyed, only 28,000 items were donated to a charity.
Exclusive: Amazon is destroying millions of items of unsold stock in one of its UK warehouses every year, an ITV News investigation has uncovered.— ITV News (@itvnews) June 21, 2021
Many of the products - including smart TVs and laptops - are often new and unused. https://t.co/OJjexB0YQd#AmazonWaste pic.twitter.com/UR7XrLWvIM
"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," Amazon's ex-employee said.
The reason behind the shocking item disposal is due to how Amazon works as a reseller. Vendors may choose Amazon to stash their products in warehouses at a cost that increases depending on how long they are stored. As costs increase, it eventually becomes cheaper to destroy the items instead of having them stored.
UK's prime minister Boris Johnson and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng promised the case will be investigated.
Masthead credit: Dunfermline Press