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Amazon is junking millions of unsold goods, probes find

Business Insider logo Business Insider 5/13/2019 Isobel Asher Hamilton

Two investigations have found that Amazon warehouses destroy unsold items, some worth hundreds of dollars.

In a documentary for French TV station M6, a journalist went undercover at an Amazon warehouse. The reporter secretly filmed a designated "destruction" zone, where items were put in the trash. Items thrown away in front of the journalist included toys, books, nappies, and a flatscreen TV. 

The documentary, aired in January, reported that the practice was widespread in French Amazon warehouses. One of Amazon's smallest warehouses in the country sent 293,000 items to the scrap heap in nine months, it said, while it obtained documents showing more than 3 million products were destroyed in France last year.

British newspaper the Mail on Sunday sent its own undercover reporter to a warehouse in the UK. The reporter asked a manager about unsold items, to which the manager responded: "Some are returned but some are also destroyed."

Amazon declined to comment on whether it destroys merchandise when contacted by Business Insider, but a spokesman said it works with charities to find homes for unwanted goods. "For unsold products, we partner with a number of charities including In Kind Direct, a charity that works with non-profit organisations to distribute goods to charities across the UK," he said. 

Related video: Amazon quietly rolls out robots to pack orders (provided by Reuters)

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