Former employee says Amazon's Dunfermline warehouse had a target to destroy 130,000 items a week © Ken Jack/Getty Images
Former employee says Amazon's Dunfermline warehouse had a target to destroy 130,000 items a week © Ken Jack/Getty Images

'Strip Amazon of public contracts over obscene stock disposal'

Amazon should be stripped of procurement contracts with the Scottish Government following revelations of unsold new stock being destroyed, according to the Greens.

An ITV News investigation found millions of items at Amazon’s Dunfermline warehouse, including TVs and laptops, being sent to recycling centres or landfill.

An ex-employee told ITV they had a target to destroy 130,000 items a week, with around half of them unopened and still in shrink wrap. The rest were returns in good condition.

Lorna Slater, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, told First Minister’s Questions: “This level of waste is obscene.

“In the last financial year the government gave [Amazon] £4.7m for web services.”

She added: “This is not the first time Scottish Greens have challenged the government on the levels of subsidy given to Amazon.

“As well as avoiding tax and the appalling treatment of workers, we now know this company would rather scrap millions of new items rather than give them to people in need.

“This is a time when public money should be going to small companies and those who need to recover from the pandemic, not to a mega corporation whose net profits were over $20 billion in 2020 alone.”

First minister Nicola Sturgeon replied: “I am not sure on the detail of financial support, whether it is a grant or perhaps procurement for services. I will look into that but it’s really important we attach fair work conditions on any support the government is giving companies.”

ITV said vendors chose to store products in Amazon warehouses but the longer they remained unsold the higher the cost, so it was cheaper to dispose of goods than continue storing them.

An Amazon spokesperson told ITV: “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.

“No items are sent to landfill in the UK. As a last resort, we will send items to energy recovery.”

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