In a shocking reveal, footage from Amazon’s warehouse in Scotland’s Dunfermline showed the mega-corporation destroying returned or unsold items like laptops, jewellery, books, Television sets, headphones, hairdryers on a large scale.
Amazon destroys millions of items from its unsold stock every year, many of which are new or unused, British news organisation ITV reported.
The video showed a range of items, from smart TVs to thousands of sealed face masks, all going into crates marked ‘destroy’. Untouched articles, which could be redistributed to charities, are instead sent to recycling centres of landfill sites.
“From a Friday to a Friday our target was to generally destroy 130000 items a week. 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,” an ex-employee was reported saying anonymously.
The reason behind this seemingly senseless destruction is Amazon’s business model. Since a lot of vendors store their products in Amazon’s warehouses, the cost of storage of unsold stock becomes too much to maintain in longer durations. After a certain point, it becomes cheaper to dispose of the goods, and this is when it goes into the ‘destroy’ boxes.
A leaked document from the Dunfermline warehouse showed “more than 124,000 items (were) marked ‘destroy’,” in one week of April. In contrast, only “28,000 items in the same period were labelled ‘donate’,” ITV reported.
While this process is technically legal, it raises questions of ethical marketing practices, so many of which are being flouted by giant businesses impervious to repercussions.