Amazon continues to destroy new goods

A Greenpeace activist took pictures of Destroy stations on Amazon. At least one truckload passes through these areas every week. Amazon should continue to regularly destroy goods that are as good as new, including clothing, toys, T-shirts, books and electrical goods. This is what the environmental protection organization Greenpeace reported on May 20, 2021, citing film recordings by one of its activists from the Amazon logistics center in Winsen (Luhe) in Lower Saxony. Unsold goods are sorted out by Amazon for destruction.

In Winsen, products in their original packaging are pre-sorted for destruction at eight workstations that Amazon calls Destroy stations. Amazon thus dispose of at least one truckload of unsold goods at the location every week, from T-shirts to books to brand-new electrical goods.

“Amazon relies solely on fast sales and therefore considers the space on the shelf to be more important than the product in it – a waste of resources that is harmful to the climate,” said Viola Wohlgemuth, consumer expert at Greenpeace.

According to the information, the Greenpeace researcher had worked for several weeks as an employee in the Amazon logistics center in Winsen and documented the processes.

The law against the destruction of goods does not yet provide for any penalties

According to information from Panorama, unsold goods from third-party dealers who sell on Amazon are primarily destroyed. Amazon offers you disposal if, for example, your goods stored on Amazon have not been purchased for a certain period of time. This is confirmed by Christian Pietsch, whose company offers leather goods through Amazon, Panorama and Zeit. You have to sell the items on Amazon within a certain period of time because otherwise there would be high long-term storage fees. A publicly available price list from Amazon for third-party retailers, “valid from April 2021”, confirms this. It states: 

“The long-term storage fee will not be charged if removal or disposal of the units was requested before the fee was levied.”

The price list can also be found in the following: Amazon charges a fee for disposal.

The Federal Cabinet decided on 12 February 2020, a law that is to stop the destruction of returns in online trading alleged. However, Amazon took advantage of the fact that there is currently no legal ordinance on duty of care, which is why no penalties are imposed, said Greenpeace. According to Greenpeace, the group is already preparing that, according to the law, waste disposal companies are only allowed to pick up broken goods. Greenpeace has information that in future Amazon wanted to cut up t-shirts in their original packaging before they are thrown in the garbage can. A test run in which textiles were destroyed with scissors has already taken place.

Amazon denials bypass most allegations

An Amazon spokesman said: 

“In fact, the number of products sold and shipped by Amazon that have to be disposed of is in the alcohol range – and we are doing everything we can to further reduce this number.” 

But Greenpeace accuses Amazon of destroying unsold new goods from marketplace dealers because the much smaller companies would otherwise incur high storage fees. No information is given on the volume of this destruction of goods.

The fact that Amazon wants to cut up t-shirts in their original packaging in the future before they are thrown in the garbage can is decidedly rejected. “There is no process for cutting up fashion items before handing them over to a waste disposal company and there were and are no plans to introduce such a system. We firmly reject these allegations. At the end of 2020 we had a first test run with a new partner in Winsen ensure that he can recycle the materials we provide. For this test, we had to provide one-time unusable goods,” said the spokesman. 

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