Online retailer Amazon destroys massive quantities of returned and as-new goods


The online retailer Amazon is destroying massive amounts of as-new and returned goods in Germany.

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German national weekly WirtschaftsWoche and German public national broadcaster ZDF´s program on current affairs, Frontal 21, report that online retailer Amazon is destroying massive amounts of as-new and returned goods in Germany.

Internal product lists, photos and interviews with employees confirm that a wide range of products including refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, mobile phones, tablets, mattresses and furniture are being disposed of. One Amazon employee revealed she had destroyed goods worth tens of thousands of Euros on a daily basis. Several employees have unanimously criticized the fact that Amazon gets rid of not only unusable products, but also of perfectly good ones, some even said to be brand new.

Amazon did not dispute it destroys goods, but underlined its efforts to find solutions to improve its processes towards “having to destroy as few goods as possible.” The company added: “When products can’t be sold, resold or donated, we turn to wholesale buyers who can use these products.”

Jochen Flasbarth, undersecretary in Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, has urged Amazon to clarify these allegations. “This is a huge scandal, we are consuming these resources despite all the problems in the world. This approach is not in step with our times. ” He added: “I strongly believe that many consumers are appalled by this behavior and will not go along with it.” The former Federal Minister of the Environment, Klaus Töpfer, described Amazon’s procedure as “irresponsible.” Environmental organization Greenpeace called for repercussions: “We need to implement a law on banning the waste and destruction of first-hand and usable goods,” said Greenpeace expert Kirsten Brodde.

Amazon, Germany’s largest online retailer, allows external dealers who use its logistics services to dispose of unsold warehouse inventory. Amazon’s service overview in Germany includes the following: “You can have your inventory disposed of upon request.” Internal documents suggest that this service is actively used. Frontal21 and WirtschaftsWoche have obtained lists of products such as children’s tennis shoes, headphones and hundreds of other goods. Stored in one warehouse for a single day, these products were internally labeled as “destroy” shipments.

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