Web store Amazon destroys millions of new and virtually new products every year in the United Kingdom alone. That reports the British channel ITV that secretly filmed images from a distribution centre of the American company in Dunfermline, Scotland.
Amazon has a total of 24 distribution centres in the United Kingdom.
According to an employee of the distribution centre who told his story anonymously, it often involved more than 100,000 items a week. That could be anything: brand new televisions, expensive Dyson vacuum cleaners, books, headphones, but also mouth caps that were still in the plastic. According to the employee, about half of the items destroyed are new, and the rest are returned items that are in good condition.
Much of the items are taken to recycling centres, but ITV also saw trucks heading for landfills. The items could just as easily have been donated to charities. Amazon does that too, but with far fewer products.
Destroying products is linked to Amazon’s business model. The American company also stores items from other companies that sell via Amazon’s platform in its distribution centres. The sellers pay for that, and the longer items are not sold, the more expensive it becomes. It will therefore become cheaper for those sellers at a certain point to have the items destroyed.
In a statement, Amazon denies that items in the UK go straight to landfill. The company says it wants to resell, donate or recycle items. “We are working towards a goal where no product is discarded.”