After an undercover investigation reportedly revealed that Amazon is destroying thousands of unsold items, including TVs, headphones, laptops, and books, which were sometimes in their packaging still, the company is facing new political scrutiny in the UK.
According to reports, three Labour MPs, including the heads of the all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) on data poverty and digital skills, have demanded a meeting with Amazon's UK national manager, John Boumphrey, following the uproar sparked by the ITV News report.
Julie Elliott, Siobhain McDonagh, and Darren Jones stated through a letter that the destruction of unneeded laptops and tablets was not only harmful to the environment, but was also a lost chance to help millions of individuals in the UK who do not have the means to access the internet.
The letter added, it is quite upsetting to see these electronic devices being disposed away carelessly, at a significant loss of many charities and organizations that could have done so much good by effectively repurposing and giving them to people in need. According to McDonagh, it was a picture of willful waste.
ITV News secretly filmed inside Amazon's warehouse in Dunfermline, dubbed the “destruction zone”, where it was seen that items, ranging from power tools to computer equipment, hairdryers, books, and even facemasks were being put into boxes that were labeled 'destroy'.
The boxes were then placed into trucks, with electrical products going to a waste management facility site and the rest going to a recycling facility. One former employee told ITV that warehouse employees had a weekly goal of destroying 130,000 products.
On Tuesday, Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) released a statement emphasizing the importance of ending the UK's throwaway culture and recycling more of its garbage.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has committed that the government will investigate the company's actions.
On the other hand, Amazon stated that no products were sent to any dumpsite in the United Kingdom. Amazon believes that all unsold items should be resold, given away, or recycled. As a last resort, the company sends items for energy recovery. However, it is working hard to decrease the number of times this occurs to zero.