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Amazon Under Fire For Binning Mountains Of Stock

An Amazon warehouse has been destroying millions of pieces of unsold stock per year, much of it still unused and its original packaging, prompting serious questions about the retailer’s inventory practices.

An investigation by British TV network ITV found that, at Amazon’s distribution centre in Dunfermline, Scotland, perfectly good stock was being marked “destroy” and shipped off to recycling centres or landfill. In a single week in April, 124,000 items were marked for destruction with just 28,000 marked for donation, leaked documents revealed.

One anonymous manager told reporters that staff were expected to destroy around 130,000 items per week – in some weeks, up to 200,000 – and have “become numb” to the process.

“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.

“Overall, 50 percent of all items are unopened and still in their shrink wrap. The other half are returns and in good condition,” the worker said.

According to ITV’s report, companies being billed to store stock in Amazon’s warehouses often find it cheaper to just dispose of unsold items rather than keep them there.

These practices are completely legal in the UK, and in a response to the investigation, Amazon insisted that no items in the country are sent to landfill, though some are sent to energy recovery – i.e. being turned into heat, power, or fuel.

“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.

“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,” a spokesperson said.

The bombshell report comes at a bad time for Amazon as the online retailer is in the midst of its annual Prime Day sale, which wound up locally in Australia yesterday but continues overseas today.

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