Amazon UK destroys 130,000 goods a week: A system built on waste

By Finn McKenna 

“’A leaked document showed more than 124,000 items marked as ‘Destroy’ in just a week… This is just ONE warehouse. If you have a system where this is possible — and even profitable — that’s a clear sign that something is fundamentally wrong.”

The above quote is from renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg. She was describing the reprehensible actions of corporate global giant Amazon. An investigative ITV clip captured shocking scenes in one of their destruction plants in Scotland. Millions of unsold products each year are dispatched to be destroyed by the company. 

Electrical goods, jewellery and books are some of the products destroyed in-house. Products that take human labour and energy to be made — wasted! Products that required natural materials and resources to be made — wasted! Goods that leave a carbon footprint at the points of production and distribution — wasted!

Massive wastage 

A former employee turned whistle-blower revealed to ITV that in a single week the target for goods to be destroyed reached the scandalous figure of 130,000. The whistle-blower described how when he learned what was expected of him and his employees by Amazon he gasped in disbelief.

There are many lessons about the capitalist system on-show in the wake of these revelations:

  • Large-scale capitalists would rather destroy goods than distribute them for human need. 
  • There’s a drive at various moments within capitalist cycles to destroy goods to prevent a glut in the market. This in turn acts as a mechanism which keeps prices of certain goods high. “Scarcity” in capitalism is either a myth peddled by billionaire lackeys or reflects the trend of conscious destruction of goods by corporations to maintain an overall profit.
  • Capitalism is completely at odds with ecological harmony and will go to gross, environmentally degrading lengths to churn out profit.

Capitalist mayhem 

This scandal represents a profound indictment of capitalist mayhem and serves as a pertinent reminder of how the idea of a fair, humane, distributive capitalism is a pipedream. As the Earth’s biological clock ticks on, we are daily faced with the reality of a spiralling capitalist nightmare, where the whims and impulses of the megalomaniac billionaire class come before the interests of the billions of people on this planet. 

Further, according to Credit Suisses there were more than five million new millionaires worldwide last year. Unimaginable wealth for the few, devastating hardship for the many. 

Capitalism is the cause of this disorder, a struggle for revolutionary socialist change by the working class in the cure.