May 23, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Hidden cameras and stealth trackers reveal where Amazon ends up back

Hidden cameras and stealth trackers reveal where Amazon ends up back

Online shoppers are safe to promise easy – yet good, free – returns. But consumers will be amazed to know what is actually going on with all those unwanted items.

Market An investigation into Amazon Canada found that good goods were being lubricated by truckload – and even sent to the area of ​​destruction or landfill. Experts say hundreds of thousands of revenue will not be returned on the e-commerce giant’s website for resale, as customers expect.

Market Journalists posing as new clients secretly went on a tour of the Toronto e-waste recycling and production destruction facilities with hidden cameras. At that meeting, a spokesperson revealed that they were getting “tons and tons of Amazon revenue” and that each week their facility was broken into and that Amazon was tearing down at least one tractor-trailer load, sometimes even three to five trucks.

“We’m not alone, we can not manage the whole of Amazon. There is no way. It’s so – it’s like cockroaches, multiply. It’s unbelievable,” said the operations manager.

CBC News is hiding her identity because the company and others who help Amazon dispose of or resell its online revenue fear that they will lose their contracts if they speak publicly.

“Some of it goes into the landfill,” the operations manager said. “Like, 100 percent nothing goes into recycling. It’s not possible.”

See | CBC Marketplace finds out where some Amazon revenue really goes:

Hidden cameras and stealth GPS trackers reveal that some of the products Amazon sent back to Canada were being lubricated by trucks and destroyed or sent to landfill. 11:27

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Eco-blogger Mira Jain was very disappointed to find out how some Amazon returns are being shredded for recycling, or sent to the landfill.

“Our recycling system is very broken, not only in Canada, but globally,” Jain said.

“We can resell, we can give a gift back, we can come back home anyway or reuse it anyway. It’s good for recycling.”

Environmental blogger Mira Jain is frustrated that some Amazon revenue is being shredded or sent to landfill for recycling. She is concerned about the environmental impact of online shopping. (Norm Arnold / CBC)

Jain loves the convenience of online shopping but is concerned about the Amazon carbon footprint. After the coronavirus pandemic struck she began to buy more on the platform, and she was not alone.

E-commerce sales in Canada have doubled In recent months.

Secret GPS trackers and a backpack journey

Kevin Lyons, an associate professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, says 30 to 40 percent of all online purchases are returned. That number drops to less than ten percent for items purchased at brick and mortar stores.

To find out more about where all that online revenue ends up, Market A fox leather backpack, overalls, printer, coffee maker, a small tent, baby toys and a few other home appliances – bought a dozen products from the Amazon website and each was sent back to Amazon but hidden inside with a GPS tracker.

Some of the marketplace inquiries into Amazon Returns will not return to the company’s virtual shelves. (Norm Arnold / CBC)

Market Paired with Basel Action Network, A non-profit Seattle-based environmental organization specializing in tracking waste and harmful products worldwide. Trackers have become a pioneer in the secret world of e-commerce revenue.

Most of the revenue took a circuitous route that traveled several hundred – sometimes thousands – kilometers to reach their final destination. Market Returned toy blocks that had traveled more than 950 kilometers before reaching a new customer in Quebec. And a printer traveled more than 1,000 kilometers while circling around southern Ontario.

Of the 12 items returned, only four were resold by Amazon to new customers at the time this story was published. Although months have passed since the investigation, some of the proceeds have been in Amazon warehouses or shipped, while others have gone to some unexpected destinations, including a backpack sent to Amazon Landfill.

The marketplace makers bought the backpack just like on Amazon and returned it in a brand new condition with the tracker hidden inside. Within three weeks it was over at the Waste Management Center in Etobicoke, Camel. Amazon said it was damaged. (CBC)

That backpack Market Returned to the newest condition – but with a tracker inside – can be found directly from the Amazon warehouse in Mississauga to the Waste Management Center in Toronto.

When Market Amazon shoppers were taken to that facility, they were shocked to hear that.

Magida El Timani frequently shopped on Amazon and was shocked to learn that the giant online retailer marketplace had thrown back a backpack given by the producers. (Norm Arnold / CBC)

Magida El Timani, a frequent shopper on Amazon, said, “I’m really shocked. I want that bag.”

Amazon’s decision to throw a backpack back has caused her to re-evaluate where she was shopping. “I really have a lot of questions … for everyone in that company. It makes me think about shopping at Amazon.”

Market The producers returned the backpack to its original condition and filmed it on camera. Amazon said the handbag was damaged and could not be resold.

But the problem is much bigger than a backpack.

Optoro, A technology firm specializing in reverse logistics – the process of sorting through retail returns – estimates that it returns $ 400 billion worth of goods to all retailers each year, producing Five billion pounds of waste Directed to the landfill area in the US

Although the Retail Council of Canada does not have specific criteria for Canada, it states that goods sold online have higher returns than brick and mortar stores and that revenue needs to be handled with care.

Marketplace Amazon bought the truck load of revenue

Amazon sells returned goods on its website through a platform Amazon warehouse. Amazon revenue is also sold through liquidators – large pallets or single items that people can buy online through virtual auctions.

Market Journalists bought three skids of Amazon revenue in one of these auctions and then asked a leading liquidator to assess their value.

Roy Dirnbeck, who has been in the liquidation business for 27 years and owns several stores across the country, said he regularly sees tractor trailer loads and online returns.

Kevin Lyons is an Associate Professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey who specializes in supply chain management and environmental policy. He said 30 to 40 per cent of all online purchases will be returned. (Steven D’Souza / CBC)

“They can’t keep up with the revenue, so they find a quick way to sell it – skid, truckload, trailer load – whatever,” Dirnbeck said.

He said pallets usually display well-known products on the outside, and often have more “junk” on the inside.

See | Why Free Online Revenue Is Terrible For The Environment:

Between 30 and 40 percent of all online purchases are returned. You may not realize it, but that revenue actually costs the environment, says one expert. 0:42

While Dirnbeck is trying to sell or donate as many products as possible, he is worried about how much will end up in the Landfills.

Rutgers professor Lyons believes Amazon needs to be more transparent with its customers.

“So you don’t get the sale price or you get a receipt for it, but the land is actually paying the price for it,” he said. “If you think about the millions and sometimes billions of transactions going on in this space, the impact is unbelievable.”

Roy Dirnbeck has been in the liquidation business for 27 years and owns several stores across the country. He helped streamline marketplace journalists through Amazon Returns, which he bought online from a third-party auction. The revenue he has behind him is unspeakable and ends up in the trash (Anu Singh / CBC)

This is an issue that annoys not only Amazon but all e-commerce giants.

Amazon, however, wrote a playbook on free revenue Jason Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at the Publicity Group, a global marketing and advertising agency.

He said the strategy of making consumers buy more than they need and give back what they do not want “has tragic consequences for the environment and business.”

Goldberg says that for all e-commerce retailers “it is very difficult and expensive to process product revenue efficiently”. “You’m lucky to be able to sell half of all revenue still new, so dispose of large amounts of goods by other means – liquidation, rebuilding, recycling or landfill.”

Under Amazon Canada’s business agreement with the companies selling on the site, customers are given only two options when returning their product to third-party sellers: either pay a fee to return it to them or pay Amazon to choose how to dispose of it. Return by selling, recycling, donating or destroying.

Until recently, the option of returning the item to the seller was three times more expensive than allowing Amazon to return. Amazon says Market As of September 1, those two fees are now the same.

Amazon Senior Public Relations Manager Alyssa Bronikovsky said in a statement MarketThe research of the organization is different from the research of the organization.

“Most of the excess and returned inventory will be resold to other customers or liquidators, returned to suppliers, or donated to charities depending on the condition of the item,” Bronikowski said. “In some cases we may not be able to resell, donate or recycle products – for example safety or hygiene reasons – but we are working hard to ensure that it does not fall below zero.”

Market Amazon was asked what percentage of its revenue would be sent for landfill, recycling or destruction. The company does not answer.

Television research in France Hundreds of thousands of products by Amazon – both revenue and overstock are being thrown away. As a result of public outrage, a New French anti-waste law It will force all retailers to recycle or donate all returned or unused items, including e-giants such as Amazon, which was approved earlier this year.

Shortly after the show aired in 2019, Amazon introduced a new program in the US and UK Fulfillment through Amazon donations, Amazon claims that sellers help send them directly to charities instead of disposing of them.

There is no such program in Canada.