Börse Express – Greenpeace calculation: 1.4 million parcels from Austria with clothes and electronics as good as new destroyed
Stop online giants & the destruction of goods – Greenpeace is calling for the federal government to ban the destruction of goods that are as good as new
Vienna (OTS – A current Greenpeace research) shows the drastic extent of the consumer frenzy in online retail: a total of around 139 million parcels were sent to private customers in Austria in the Corona year 2020 – significantly more than the year before. The big winners are the international shipping giants Amazon, Zalando and Co. Because the product doesn’t like it or doesn’t fit, every third parcel was sent back to the retailer – a total of around 46 million returns. The frightening thing about it:
In the area of clothing and electronics alone, around 1.4 million return parcels from Austria were disposed of last year, according to Greenpeace estimates. The environmental protection organization has achieved this on the basis of studies and package statistics. The reason for this approach is that it is often cheaper for the large online retailers to destroy the new goods than to store, repair or pass them on. Greenpeace is now demanding a ban on the destruction of unsold and returned goods from the Austrian government.
“Amazon and Co. flood the market with cheap goods and encourage impulse purchases, which are being sent back more and more frequently. As the Greenpeace calculation now shows, around 1.4 million parcels from Austria full of new clothing and electronic devices are simply destroyed. Every product that is laboriously produced and then destroyed without being used is one too many, ”says Lisa Panhuber, consumer expert at Greenpeace in Austria. Online shopping has picked up further thanks to the corona pandemic. Last year, sales in Austria were 17 percent higher than in 2019. Sales registered in Austria by international online retailers such as Amazon accounted for more than half of total online sales in 2020. This means that they also bear the greatest responsibility when dealing with returned goods.
The Institute for Ecology and Politics published a study for the European Environment Bureau (EEB) in 2021 and estimates that 10 to 20 percent of textiles and 4 to 10 percent of electrical goods are disposed of. Greenpeace has calculated the amount for Austria based on the conservative information: In 2020, 1.31 million parcels of textiles and around 120,000 parcels of electrical goods were destroyed. “The dirty business with destroyed returns and stocks must be stopped. To make a T-shirt or one, huge amounts of resources are used and climate-damaging CO2, for example for transport, is blown into the air, ”says Panhuber. When asked by Greenpeace for specific figures, Zalando did not respond, the mail order company Unito reported that returned goods are being destroyed “in the per mille range”. Amazon refers to its company blog. While Amazon claims to only destroy goods in exceptional cases, Greenpeace’s research paints a different picture. At least one truckload of unsold shipping items ends up in the trash at just one Amazon location in Germany every week. Not only returns, but also completely intact new goods from Amazon marketplace providers that were not sold within a certain period of time are disposed of according to the video recordings.
In order to stop the destruction of new goods, the so-called duty of care has been in place in Germany since 2020, but this has not yet been implemented in a sanctionable manner. “In Austria, too, we have to protect resources and ensure that only what IS needed is produced. A legally anchored ban on destruction is urgently required for this. It is crucial that violations are also sanctioned, ”says Panhuber. In addition, initiatives and professional groups that aim to reuse products must be promoted more. These include repair cafés, re-use companies, repair workshops, tailors and shoemakers.
You can find the factsheet on returns in online retail here:
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