Because glut knows no bounds, Fortune is reporting that Amazon is destroying “massive amounts” of as-new and returned product in Germany instead of reselling it, proving once again that the e-comm giant has too much money, and that human beings have too many things.
Uncovered by German business weekly, WirtschaftsWoche, and a news show called Frontal 21, the “revelation drew an angry response from the German government and environmental campaigners” concerned with waste, pollution, and the like.
“This is a huge scandal,” Jochen Flasbarth, from the German environment ministry said. “We are consuming these resources despite all the problems in the world. This approach is not in step with our times.”
While it’s common to destroy health and personal care products, the Fortune story notes that Amazon was trashing usable things, “like washing machines, smartphones and furniture,” all of which tend to not biodegrade, even if they have a landfill to retire to.
Amazon Germany’s defenders say that the company is only responding to vendor’s wishes when they destroy product, and that “ultimately, the question here is one of proportion,” though those proportions are unclear, as is the timeframe before something is thrown away.
“The WirtschaftsWoche report claims that some items were destroyed after being in Amazon’s warehouse for a mere day, and cites Amazon employees as saying they have ‘destroyed goods worth tens of thousands of euros on a daily basis,’” the story said.
Amazon, for the record, has yet to comment on how much product they actually destroy, and “when Fortune asked Amazon Germany for information about how much inventory it destroys, and what destruction entails — how much material is recycled — the company did not provide an answer.”
You can read more about it at Fortune.