An Amazon warehouse in Scotland reportedly destroys millions of unsold products every year, according to undercover footage and anonymous employees at the facility.
British news outlet ITV obtained footage from inside the e-commerce giant’s Dunfermline facility that showed laptops, books, jewelry and other still-packaged products being sorted into boxes marked “destroy.”
The items, some of which were new and others which were returned, were then sorted into trucks and taken to recycling centers or landfills, according to the outlet.
“From a Friday to a Friday our target was to generally destroy 130,000 items a week,” a former employee at the site told ITV.
“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.”
130,000 items per week works out to be almost 6.8 million products per year.
“Overall, 50 percent of all items are unopened and still in their shrink wrap. The other half are returns and in good condition. Staff have just become numb to what they are being asked to do,” the ex-employee added.
A leaked document obtained by ITV alleged that during one week in April, more than 124,000 items were marked “destroy” while just 28,000 items were labeled “donate.”
An Amazon spokesperson said that the Dunfermline site handles all products marked for destruction in all of the United Kingdom — but insisted that no products are sent to landfill.
“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,” the spokesperson told ITV.
“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.”
Energy recovery in waste management is the conversion of non-recyclable materials into heat, electricity, or fuel.
It’s not the first time Amazon has been scrutinized by the media for trashing new and hardly used products. In 2019, undercover reporters in France found that Amazon destroyed over 3 million products in one year.