Great Britain

Scots Amazon warehouse destroys dozens of pallets of unopened food, drink, toys and clothes

A SCOTS Amazon warehouse has been destroying dozens of pallets of unopened food, drink, toys and clothes.

The e-commerce giant has been disposing of masses of unsold goods at its large depot in Dunfermline, Fife.

Large pallets labelled waste include unopened and non-expired food and drink.

Stock being disposed of include cans of soup, baked beans, multipacks of unopened crisps, bottled water, instant noodles, and coffee pods.

Last month we told how £40m worth of goods at Amazon's Dunfermline warehouse, including pricey items like drones and smart TVs, are destroyed each year.

Footage obtained by ITV from a worker at the Dunfermline depot shows large bins full of food and drink, much of it still within their use-by-date.

The items had been sent back to the returns department at the sprawling warehouse.

The member of staff, who filmed the shocking footage and wishes to remain anonymous, said a staggering "70 per cent" of binned goods are still sealed and in original packaging.

Speaking to ITV, the worker said: "It’s stuff like Heinz tins of soups or tins of beans. Unopened bottles of water, Coke, orange squash or nutrition drinks.

"I’ve also thrown away in-date fancy chocolates or Easter Eggs, treats that kids would love.” 

Rebecca Dixon, who runs the Community One Stop Shop food bank near Dunfermline, said she would "drive up there personally to collect this stuff on a daily basis.”

She added: "It doesn’t matter if it is nearing the end of its life. There are so many families who would welcome it all. To be honest, for some, it could mean the difference between going with and going without a meal.”

An Amazon spokesperson said the disposal of unopened and still within use-by-date items is a "food safety issue", with the company uncertain if returned food is safe for consumption.

They also said Amazon is "committed to zero waste", with a priority on reselling, donating or recycling returned or unsold items.

The UK’s biggest environmental groups have written to the Prime Minister urging him to work with the devolved governments to introduce new rules on what firms can and can't do with unsold or returned products.

The letter is from Greenpeace UK, the Environmental Investigation Agency, Friends of the Earth, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the Green Alliance, and Surfers Against Sewage.

The organisations wrote: "These practices are the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with our throwaway culture, especially its disregard for the natural resources, carbon emissions and labour that go into making everyday products."

An Amazon spokesperson said: "Amazon supports 23 food banks and charities across the UK, and so far this year we’ve donated 2.9 million food and drink products. To suggest we throw away perfectly good food or drink is wrong: if we can donate it, we donate it.

"As our customers would expect - and in line with UK food safety regulations - we do not donate food that poses a safety risk. That includes items past their use-by date, that could have been damaged, or that have been returned and we can no longer guarantee their safety or quality.

“It is better for the environment, our customers, our communities, and for our business when we can resell or donate these products. As will be the case with most retailers, we have more work to do, but we are working towards a goal of zero product disposal."

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