Though people enjoy the modern conveniences of retailers like Amazon, the average consumer is not aware of what goes on behind the closed doors of their warehouses–until now. A team of undercover French reporters have revealed in a shocking new documentary that Amazon incinerates millions of new and unused products every day. The reporters, who posed as workers, released footage of an area in the warehouse called the “destruction zone” where staff dispose of everything from brand new toys, untouched kitchen wares, to pristine flat screen TVs. These items are then loaded onto trucks and dumped at landfills as confirmed by drone footage captured by the film crew.
As the world becomes more concerned with the environmental crisis and waste, Amazon’s practices comes as a great shock and squandering of resources.
But why all the waste? Amazon bosses explain that the company charges companies £22 per meter of storage space. This figure increases to £430 per meter after six months and then £860 after one year. Suppliers say that when Amazon is unable to sell their inventory of items after six months they charge exorbitant amounts of money to ship the items back but only cents to destroy their products.
Chinese stationary executive, Zhongwang Zheng, who does business with Amazon, told the Daily Mail that the company will advise that he allows staff to destroy his unsold products in order to keep costs down.
“The UK is our main storage centre but Amazon has destroyed our products there. After around six months or a year, if the goods are not sold Amazon will start charging storage fees. But the charges are very high so Amazon either throws the goods away or ships them back to China. But the cost of having products shipped back is too high for a factory like ours. My personal view is that if products don’t sell, Amazon should donate them to charity rather than throw them away.”
When questioned by the Daily Mail regarding destroying surplus goods, Amazon declined to answer and said that they donate all unsold items to a number of charities. The footage recovered by the French investigation team proves otherwise though.
Though the documentary was filmed in France it is believed that these disposal practices are also followed in Britain and other countries as well.
Many critics have called Amazon’s behavior the plague of consumerism and are pressuring the company to do better.
Mary Creagh, leader of the UK’s Labour Party called the the spectacle “shocking and heartbreaking.”
“At a time when millions are struggling to make ends meet and afford everyday essentials, it is scandalous that unused products are simply being destroyed when they could be given to people in need,” she said.
“On top of that, this kind of policy has disastrous consequences for the environment. Amazon was one of the worst performing retailers in the Audit Committee’s recent inquiry and it is shocking to see these destructive policies are now widespread across the company.”