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Amazon makes amends after backlash for destroying millions of unsold products

A recent investigation had found Amazon was destroying scores of brand new items like phones, laptops, TVs, and more.

Published onAugust 5, 2021

  • Amazon has announced two new programs to decrease wastefulness after it was found destroying scores of brand new products.
  • The new initiatives aim to give overstocked or unsold items a second life.

Amazon has made plans to give unsold products lying in its warehouses a new lease of life after a recent investigation found that the e-commerce giant was destroying millions of brand new, perfectly good items such as iPads, MacBooks, phones, TVs, and more because of stocking issues at one of its 24 UK warehouses.

Video evidence and interviews by ITV News showed that Amazon was junking approximately 130,000 such unsold items per week, and that’s just from a single location in the UK! When the worrying footage was released, speculation started mounting up that the company was probably following similar wasteful practices at its other warehouses worldwide.

Now, backlash from lawmakers and environmental campaigners has prompted Amazon to start two new programs to give a second life to unsold products. The company has announced the FBA Liquidations and FBA Grade and Resell programs to make it easier for businesses to resell customer-returned or overstocked inventory.

Related: How to reuse your old phone as a sim racing dashboard

“These new programs are examples of the steps we’re taking to ensure that products sold on Amazon — whether by us or our small business partners — go to good use and don’t become waste,” said Libby Johnson McKee, Director, Amazon WW Returns, ReCommerce and Sustainability.

Sellers who want to resell returned items can relist them on Amazon as “used” items. When an item is returned, sellers can choose to set a new price and route it to this new program automatically. The option is now available to sellers in the UK and will be available in the US by the end of the year and in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain by early 2022.

The other FBA Liquidations program will give sellers the option to use Amazon’s wholesale resale channel and technology to recover a portion of their inventory cost from their returned or overstock inventory. The program is now live in the US, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain and is set to go live in the UK in August.

Are these efforts enough to cut Amazon’s alleged waste? We’ll only know with time. The company says it’s committed to net zero carbon by 2040 and 100% renewable energy by 2025.