- Amazon has a new initiative to reduce the amount of products it sends to the trash each year.
- Recent investigations revealed that the company destroys millions of unsold or returned products.
- Two programs will give third-party sellers another chance to sell products instead of throwing them away.
Amazon sells over a million products a day, but as with any retail business, overstocked and returned items are a reality.
Previously, the company’s response to this challenge was to recycle, donate, or destroy inventory. Recent undercover investigations in Scotland and France revealed that some warehouses were throwing away 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 products listed on Amazon, and most of them use a service called Fulfillment By Amazon that requires them to store much of their inventory in an Amazon facility so Amazon employees can quickly pack it 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’ve first been reviewed and released by Amazon. This program is already underway in the UK and will be available in the US and select European countries in the coming months.
The second option allows sellers with overstocked merchandise to use Amazon’s wholesale channels to sell their inventory in bulk to recoup some of that value. This program is currently active in the US and parts of Europe, and will come to the UK this month.
The Excess Inventory Clearance option provides sellers with an alternative to simply having Amazon give the products away or return them to the seller.
Amazon estimates the programs will save 300 million products a year once fully adopted.
“We hope this will help build a circular economy and reduce our impact on the planet,” Libby Johnson McKee, director of returns, recommerce and sustainability at Amazon, said in the announcement. “We’re thrilled that these programs are also helping businesses that sell on Amazon reduce costs and grow their businesses.”