Amazon to donate all unsold items to charities in the UK and US

Amazon will begin gifting unsold items to charity as part of a new donations programme dubbed Fulfillment by Amazon Donations.

Charities will receive items from third party sellers who store their goods in Amazon’s fulfilment centres in the US and the UK, it said in a blogpost.  

Donations will be the default option for all sellers after September 1 who choose to dispose of unsold or unwanted items stored by Amazon, though they can opt out of the programme.

The ecommerce giant is working with Good360, which it described as a “global leader in product philanthropy”, to distribute goods through a “network of diverse nonprofits” in the US.

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In the UK, Amazon will donate items to charities including Newlife, Salvation Army and Barnardo’s.

This comes after reports emerged that Amazon destroys millions of unsold items every year, with one French documentary estimating that 3 million items were destroyed in the country last year, a number expected to be higher elsewhere.

“This program will reduce the number of products sent to landfills and instead help those in need,” Amazon wrote in the email to sellers, seen by CNBC who first reported the story.

“At Amazon, the vast majority of returned products are resold to other customers or liquidators, returned to suppliers, or donated to charitable organizations, depending on their condition.”

Amazon’s community director Alice Shobe added: “We know getting products into the hands of those who need them transforms lives and strengthens local communities. We are delighted to extend this program to sellers who use our fulfillment services.”

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