We’ve seen Amazon mentioned in the news a lot recently thanks to its founder, Jeff Bezos, blasting himself into space in order to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ (aka fellow billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson). But there’s another recent Amazon-related story that might have passed you by amidst all the talk of this new ‘Space Race’ for the super rich.
An exposé has uncovered the shocking revelation that Amazon is destroying millions of unsold goods each year - including smart TVs, laptops and other “new or lightly used” items. With one Amazon warehouse in Scotland disposing of 130,000 such goods in a single week, it’s not surprising that there’s been outage in response.
So why are they doing it?
The answer lies in the company’s accounts: these products have value as stock, but as time goes by they depreciate until their value on paper is less than the cost of storing them. At that point, they become waste that needs to be disposed of, as cheaply as possible.
In other words, this waste isn’t unexpected. And the cheapest way to get rid of it? You guessed it: landfill. The environmental cost seemingly doesn’t come into it, as that’s not a factor in the balance sheets. But it should be, and we hope that in time, it will be. It doesn’t have to be the case that recycling and other alternatives to landfill are more costly - and as these options become more mainstream, they won’t be.
In the meantime, consumers are taking matters into their own hands and voting with their feet, boycotting wasteful companies like Amazon in favour of buying more consciously. While Amazon and the like opt for the cheapest, easiest choice, more and more of us are seeing that convenience comes at an environmental price - and we’re willing to take the more expensive, less convenient option if it means we can buy with a clean conscience, from a company whose values align with our own.
Kate & Louise
Co-founders now, sit down