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Why is Amazon throwing away perfectly good stock and how can we cut down on landfill?

Why is Amazon throwing away perfectly good stock and how can we cut down on landfill?


We are in the middle of the climate emergency and yet one of the highest grossing companies in the world is throwing even more of our planet’s precious resources into the bin.

Amazon is wasting perfectly good stock, with millions of unsold items being destroyed each year in the UK rather than being re-sold or given to those in need.

ITV’s investigation revealed that Amazon sanctioned the destruction of a slew of items including Smart TVs, laptops, and hairdryers, as well as thousands of sealed face masks.

The investigation tracked Amazon lorries, loaded with bins of unsold and returned items, to recycling centres and even landfill sites, rather than being reused or donated.

One ex-Amazon worker at one warehouse said their target was to destroy around 130,000 items a week.

This is a huge waste and it is completely unsustainable, especially if Amazon wants to hit their net carbon zero target by 2040.

Since the leak from the Dunfermline distribution centre, more ex-Amazon workers have come forward from other centres with similar testimonies.

Amazon has refuted the allegations and claims to be working towards a target of ‘zero product disposal’, instead claiming that no items get sent to landfill- only as a last resort do unsold items go to ‘energy recovery’.

 Many fashion brands have previously been hit with accusations of destroying stock, including Nike, Urban Outfitters, Burberry and H&M.

Exclusivity and public image are two of the motivations behind the fast fashion approach to burning or discarding clothes and textiles.

The desire to constantly create new products and to drive demand for them often means stock goes unsold.

So what can be done?

A more circular economy is the solution to the piles of waste that Amazon and other businesses are generating.

This means working with charities and organisations on a local level, ensuring that any unsold or damaged stock is passed down to those in need or to someone who can repurpose or upcycle that product.

Just think of how many lives could be improved if the thousands of laptops that go to landfill are donated to less privileged families in need of a computer for home schooling.

Think of how we can clothe a nation with items left on the railing in a back room.

What are we doing here to help reduce this waste to landfill?

At Green Heart Collective, we upcycle, reuse, rework and recycle whatever comes our way - including but not exclusively, clothing, leisure items and furniture.

We also work with businesses and charities in the North East to source and re-distribute old stock, returns, second-hand clothes and other items.

Our vision is to create a joyful space with a green heart, modelling sustainable consumerism.

What can you do?

1. Make conscious consumer decisions about where you shop based on available information about that brand and how it contributes to waste in landfill. Boycotting Amazon, for example, is not an easy decision as shopping on Amazon is so convenient, but if enough of us do it, the company will be forced to listen and make changes.

2. Sign Greenpeace’s petition to John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager at Amazon.

Sign here and tell Amazon to stop destroying UK stock and hold them accountable by getting them to provide records showing how much does get destroyed or sent to landfill.

3. Make a shift to buying more preloved, upcycled and recycled items. We'd love for you to visit us in person or online - it really does make a difference.


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