An undercover investigation by ITV News has revealed that Amazon is sending millions of laptops, smartphones, Bluetooth speakers, and even face masks every year to landfills and recycling centres.
The news website shows recorded footage from one of 175 warehouses that Amazon operates across the world where unsold goods are being marked for destruction and being dispatched in trucks. A former employee further reveals that the target of this centre located in Dunfermline, Scotland alone was to destroy 130,000 items per week or 6 million products every year.
Amazon is also donating a measly portion of the unsold inventory. For every 130,000 items sent for destruction, around 28,000 were marked for donation.
“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,” the employee further revealed.
The explanation for this scandalous practice is that after a product becomes obsolete, it’s cheaper to destroy it rather than to store it in the warehouse. ITV news notes that what Amazon is doing isn’t exactly illegal.
“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,” said an Amazon spokesperson in response to the allegations.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has been pointed out for destroying perfectly good inventory. An undercover investigation in 2019 revealed that the company destroyed 3 million products in France that year.
The new investigation has elicited interest from many activists and politicians in the U.K. Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to look into the allegations.