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Amazon warehouse destroys 1.3 lakh unsold items every week: Report

Multiple products including MacBooks, televisions, and COVID-19 masks are destroyed per week. Most of these items were new, unused, or returned, and around half of them were still in shrinkwrap or unopened packages

The investigation also found that during one week in April, 1,24,000 items were marked 'destroy' The investigation also found that during one week in April, 1,24,000 items were marked 'destroy'

An Amazon warehouse in Scotland destroys millions of new and unused products every year, according to an investigation by British news outlet, ITV. They filmed the undercover footage from inside the e-commerce giant's Dunfermline facility that showed the items were sorted into boxes marked for the 'destruction zone'.

The items, like laptops, headphones, jewellery, and many more, were sorted into trucks and taken to recycling centres or landfill sites. Most of these items were new, unused, or returned, and around half of them were still in shrinkwrap or unopened packages.

"From a Friday to a Friday, our target was to generally destroy 1,30,000 items a week," a former employee at the site told ITV. He further revealed that there was no rhyme or reason to what gets destroyed.

A total of 1,30,000 items per week translates to more than 6 million products per year. "Staff have just become numb to what they are being asked to do," the ex-employee added.

The investigation also found that during one week in April, 1,24,000 items were marked 'destroy' and 28,000 products were marked 'donate.'

An Amazon spokesperson claimed the Dunfermline site handles all items marked for destruction in the UK, insisting that no products are sent to landfill sites. "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," the spokesperson told ITV.

The report from ITV comes during Amazon's Prime Day shopping event, where workers and anti-surveillance groups have called for an end to Amazon's punitive worker surveillance system. It is not the first time that Amazon has been scrutinised by the media for destroying new and still-packed products. A 2019 undercover report in France found that Amazon destroyed over 3 million products in one year.

(Edited by Rupashree Ravi)

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