Undercover filming by ITV News at a Dunfermline warehouse of Amazon in Great Britain shows that e-commerce giant destroys millions of items that have been returned or remain unsold for long periods of time. Almost all these items could have found use if only they had been donated to charities or to those in need. The company’s business model is such that it believes that it is cheaper to dispose unsold or returned goods rather than stocking them.
About 50 percent of the items disposed were still in their original shrink wrap. The rest were in good condition, but staff said they were unable to do anything other than follow orders.
A leaked document from Amazon, for a week in April, showed that more than 124,000 items were marked with the label “destroy.” In the same seven days only 28,000 items had a label which said “donate.” The same manager said there were weeks when the number of items in “destroy” reached 200,000. There are 24 similar fulfillment centers or warehouses in the U.K.
The sheer range of items that were marked “destroy” in the secretly filmed footage was huge. Some of them included
- Face masks
Earlier, the U.K. boss John Boumphrey said that the amount of stock destroyed by the company was “extremely small.” This was before ITV was contacted by the whistle blower who filmed the footage of the items labeled “destroy.”
The whistle blower also said that lorries carrying nonelectrical goods were sent to a separate landfill. It is mind boggling and sad to think that so many useful items like masks and books are not only rendered useless because of a corporate’s business model but also increase landfills which add to degradation of the environment.
ITV News contacted both the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng who said that they would look into the matter. A similar accusation was placed on Amazon in France but could not be proven as there was no whistleblower.
Image Credit Shutterstock ID: 1123549856 LONDON COLNEY, UK – JUNE 28, 2018: Amazon Prime lorry in motion on the British motorway M25