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Amazon is under fire in Germany for destroying as-new and returned items

Amazon is under fire in Germany for destroying as-new and returned items
[Photo: Álvaro Ibáñez/Wikimedia Commons]

The business weekly WirtschaftsWoche and news show Frontal 21 have revealed the Amazon is destroying “massive amounts” of as-new and returned items, raising the ire of the German government and environmental campaigners (via Fortune). Some Amazon warehouse employees in Germany have claimed the company “destroyed goods worth tens of thousands of euros on a daily basis,” according to WirtschaftsWoche. That’s not something Jochen Flasbarth from the German environment ministry is happy to hear:

“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.”

Amazon has a policy that dictates the destruction of returned health and personal care products due to sanitary concerns. But it’s easy to see why the destruction of perfectly good products–and the environmental impact those unused products have–concerns many. That being said, Amazon does say it usually tries to resell or donate returned products or move them on to liquidators if possible. However, sometimes manufacturers and vendors ask Amazon to destroy returned goods on their behalf, which Amazon has to abide by.

Upon hearing of the destruction of returned goods, Greenpeace’s Kirsten Brodde said a new “law on banning the waste and destruction of firsthand and usable goods” was needed.

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