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Amazon warehouses trash millions of unsold products, media reports say

  • Amazon warehouses in Britain and France routinely trash unsold products, with one facility reportedly sending 293,000 items to a local dump during a nine-month period.
  • Reporters posing as employees of the retailer secretly filmed workers loading brand-new toys and TVs for transportation to dumps.
  • A documentary for French TV finds Amazon destroyed more than 3 million products last year.

Amazon warehouses in the U.K. and France routinely discard unused products, with one facility sending 293,000 items to the trash heap during a nine-month period, according to media reports.

Reporters posing as Amazon employees found a site dubbed the "destruction zone," where they secretly filmed Amazon workers loading brand new toys, kitchen equipment and flat-screen TVs for transportation to dumps, according to a report in Britain's Daily Mail.

When a British reporter posing as a worker at an Amazon warehouse in the Midlands asked what happens to unsold goods, a manager told him: "Some are returned but some are also destroyed," the newspaper said.

A documentary for a French TV station found Amazon destroyed more than 3 million products in France last year.

In an emailed response to CBS MoneyWatch, Amazon said it works with charities to donate unwanted goods, both in the U.K. and in the U.S., but did not refute the notion that many of its products wind up in landfills.

Amazon, however, is not alone in laying waste to its products, with details of its practices following Burberry coming under fire last year for burning $38 million worth of clothes, accessories and cosmetics to keep them from being sold off cheaply.

In addition, Richemont, the owner of luxury watch brands including Cartier, also destroys its products, while Nike's slashing of its shoes before discarding them has drawn unwanted media attention in the past. The practice was controversial at least as far back as 2010, when H & M vowed to donate garments it couldn't sell at a store in New York's Herald Square after garnering negative press.

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