Amazon working to cut waste after report found unsold stock was destroyed


Amazon announced in a blog post Wednesday that the company had created two new programs to resell unsold or returned inventory following a report in June that found millions of items in a warehouse were being destroyed.

The retail giant says the two new “Fulfilment by Amazon” (FBA) programs will help to “build a circular economy.” 

In the first program, “FBA Grade and Resell,” third-party sellers can opt to have Amazon employees review an item when it gets returned. The employee will then rate it with one of four used conditions: like new, very good, good and acceptable.

The program allows the seller to then set and manage the pricing of those items once they’ve been labeled with a condition rating.

Amazon said the program was currently available in the United Kingdom and slated to be available in the U.S. by the end of the year. The company said it would launch in Germany, France, Italy and Spain by the beginning of next year.

In the second program, “FBA Liquidations,” sellers can recoup some of their money from unsold or returned items by using Amazon’s “wholesale resale channel and technology.”

The retail giant said the “FBA Liquidations” program was available in the U.S., Spain, Italy, France and Germany. Amazon said the program will launch in the United Kingdom in August.

“Customer returns are a fact of life for all retailers, and what to do with those products is an industry-wide challenge,” Libby Johnson McKee, director of Amazon WW Returns, ReCommerce and Sustainability, said in the post.

“These new programmes are examples of the steps we’re taking to ensure that products sold on Amazon—whether by us or our small business partners—go to good use and don’t become waste,” she continued.

The announcement comes after an investigation by the United Kingdom news outlet ITV News in June found that millions of unsold items at an Amazon warehouse in Scotland were being destroyed. 

Several British lawmakers said they wanted to meet with the company to understand why so many items were being thrown away, and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government would look into the matter.

A spokesperson for Amazon told The Hill at the time, “We are working towards a goal of zero product disposal and our priority is to resell, donate to charitable organisations or recycle any unsold products.”

The spokesperson added that no products end up at a landfill in the United Kingdom and are sent to energy recovery as a last resort.

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