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Amazon is so rich it throws away millions of unsold items a year in one warehouse alone

An ex-employee says they were expected to destroy 130,000 per week.

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Image: KnowTechie

Most people know that Amazon has established itself as one of the largest companies in the world. What you may not know, however, is that the company has so much money that it is okay with throwing away millions of units of unsold inventory a year. Oh, and that’s just at one of the company’s warehouses.

New footage from ITV News shares the daunting reality of what goes on in one Amazon warehouse, located in Dunfermline, Scotland. This undercover footage, shot from inside the warehouse, shows the fulfillment center’s “destroy” room, and the scale of waste is absolutely astonishing.

Items included in the destruction process seem to have no rhyme or reason. From electronics to books to medical facemasks, anything and everything seems subject to destruction at the will of Amazon.

As you can see, there is an enormous amount of waste coming from this one factory alone. While all electronics do seem to be going to a waste management plant, anything else is just dumped at a landfill. One unnamed ex-Amazon employee claimed that the goal was to destroy 130,000 items per week.

That same employee claimed that items destroyed were rarely damaged in any way. About 50% of items are customer returns, but mostly without defects. The other 50%? Brand new, and sometimes even shrink-wrapped, items.

Obviously, this is raising some serious environmental concerns, and the problem is what has turned Amazon into such a successful business model. Many people choose to store the products that they sell in the company’s warehouses, a great way to handle some of the logistics of being an Amazon seller.

But if things don’t sell quickly, Amazon’s storage fees can become quite expensive. It quickly becomes cheaper to destroy items that aren’t selling, than it would be to store them for longer periods of time.

This is a pretty significant problem that is probably going to continue as long as Amazon is successful with this model. As long as it remains cheaper for a company to destroy an item and replace it than it is to store that item, there will be tons of unnecessary waste leaving Amazon facilities.

Update 8/4/2021 11:20 PM ET: Amazon has introduced two new Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) programs designed to make it easier for businesses selling on Amazon to resell customer-returned items or overstock inventory while also giving more products a second life.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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