Amazon to Reduce the Amount of Unsold Stuff It Destroys
- Amazon has a new initiative to curb the amount of products it sends to the trash each year.
- Recent investigations found the company destroys millions of unsold or returned products.
- Two programs will give third-party sellers another chance to sell products instead of trashing them.
Amazon sells more than a million products per day, but as with any retail business, overstocked and returned items are a fact of life.
Previously, the company’s answer to that challenge was to recycle, donate, or destroy the inventory. Recent undercover investigations in Scotland and France revealed that some warehouses were trashing millions of unsold items each year.
On Wednesday, Amazon announced a pair of programs for its third-party sellers that it says will reduce waste and give “more products a second life.”
Third-party sellers sell most of the stuff that’s listed on Amazon, and most of them use a service called Fulfillment By Amazon that requires them to store much of their inventory at an Amazon facility so that Amazon workers can quickly pack and ship it to customers.
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The first is a new option to sell returned items by listing them as “used” after they have first been evaluated and released by Amazon. That program is already underway in the UK, and will be available in the US and some European countries in the coming months.
The second option allows sellers with overstocked goods to use Amazon‘s wholesale channels to sell their inventory in bulk to recover a portion of that value. That program is currently active in the US and parts of Europe, and will arrive in the UK this month.
The overstock liquidation option offers sellers an alternative to having Amazon simply donate the products or return them to the seller.
Amazon estimates the programs will rescue 300 million products per year once they are fully enacted.
“We hope these help build a circular economy and reduce our impact on the planet,” Libby Johnson McKee, Amazon‘s director of Returns, ReCommerce and Sustainability, said in the announcement. “We’re excited that these programs will also help the businesses selling on Amazon reduce costs and grow their businesses.”