Online retailer Amazon has come under criticism because of its disposal of returned and unsold items. According to reports by German public-service television broadcaster ZDF and German business weekly Wirtschaftswoche on Friday, in the German warehouses of the US company, large volume of goods are simply disposed of. These items include refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers, cell phones, tablets, mattresses and furniture.

According to the report, several employees criticised that functional, sometimes even new products would be destroyed. Environmental state secretary Jochen Flasbarth requested Amazon to clear up the allegations: "This is a huge scandal, because we consume resources with all the problems in this way overall in the world.”

Amazon said to destroy functional and new products

Amazon explained that there are several programs for returned or unsold products to reduce their disposal. “If products cannot be sold, resold or donated, we work with buyers of remainders to resell these goods through other channels."

The high number of returns is generally a problem for online retailers as many customers buy goods to view - and these articles are often returned in damaged or used condition. The University of Bamberg estimated the number of customer-returned shipments in Germany for the year 2012 already at 250 million. Since then, online retail has further grown considerably. (dpa)