Ever wonder what happens to the unsold products at Amazon? Do they have events like clearance sales to clear out all the unsold items or give them big discounts? The answer seems to be no and what Amazon actually does is that it destroys thousands of unsold items. These items include televisions, books, facemasks, and even laptops. Imagining this happening at every Amazon warehouse means that a significant waste is happening.
The shocking news came to light when ITV News performed an undercover investigation at an Amazon warehouse in the Scottish town of Dunfermline. The footage showed drones, headphones, jewelry, and other high-value products being placed into boxes labeled “destroy” before huge trucks were followed carrying the stock to landfill sites and recycling centers.
The footage prompted British lawmakers to immediately demand a meeting with the tech giant. An ex-Amazon employee told ITV News that workers were made to get rid of around 130,000 items a week. Multiply that number with the total number of Amazon warehouses and you have yourself a waste producer of an astronomical scale.
Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson said that the allegations were incredible and he assured that he would look into them. Even climate activist Greta Thunberg spoke out after seeing the video. She said that “This is just ONE warehouse”. You can take a look at her tweet below along with footage from ITV News.
Amazon operates around 175 centers worldwide which span more than 150 million square feet. Employees are tasked to prepare items to be shipped and delivered to customers everywhere. According to John Boumphrey from ITV, Amazon’s UK country manager said that the number of items being destroyed was just a small amount. Don’t destroy those iPhones, give one to me (sad emoji).
An Amazon spokesperson disagreed with the allegations saying that the location showed were recycling sites. They said, “We are working towards a goal of zero product disposal and our priority is to resell, donate to charitable organizations, 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”.