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Amazon will now donate unsold warehouse merchandize by default instead of trashing it

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The company reportedly disposed of millions of Marketplace products vendors couldn’t sell

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon has unveiled a new program today in the US and UK that will donate unwanted products from third-party Marketplace sellers instead of sending them to the garbage dump.

The new program, called Fulfilled by Amazon Donations, will see hundreds of thousands of products third-party vendors were unable to sell go to US nonprofits and a series of UK charities like Barnardo’s, Newlife, and the Salvation Army. Previously, Amazon reportedly trashed products left in its warehouses that sellers were unable to offload. Oftentimes, products are left in warehouses because they were returned, or certain batches of inventory contain some type of defect. CNBC originally reported the news earlier today.

At one point, a single Amazon facility sent 293,000 products to a garbage dump in a nine-month period, CBS News reported back in May. The issue was especially dire in France, where a documentary in January detailed Amazon’s product disposal practices in the country, which involved tossing 3 million televisions in 2018 alone.

“We know getting products into the hands of those who need them transforms lives and strengthens local communities,” Alice Shobe, the director of the company’s charitable giving arm called Amazon in the Community, said in a statement. “We are delighted to extend this program to sellers who use our fulfillment services.”

FBA Donations will go into effect starting September 1st. It will become the default option for Marketplace sellers that opt to let Amazon store and distribute their products, a core feature of the Marketplace platform that makes it the most used third-party selling option in the US and larger than Amazon’s own North American retail division.

The goal is to reduce waste and to allow sellers a more environmental friendly and cheaper way to get rid of unsold inventory. Prior to the new program, Amazon charged 35 cents less, or just 15 cents per unit, to dispose of a product rather than donate it. Under FBA Donations, that fee arrangement is not going to change, but the new program will “streamline” the process for sellers and allow them to ensure donated products are going to nonprofits and charities working directly with Amazon.

“In our 35-year history, Good360 has helped distribute nearly $10 billion in needed goods through our diverse network of nonprofit partners, who get those products to the people who need them the most,” Good360 CEO Matt Connelly said in a statement given to The Verge. “Our partnership with Amazon provides hope and helps transform the lives of those who are facing challenging life circumstances, including survivors of disasters. There’s never been a greater need for support, and the collaboration between Amazon and Good360 is helping to fill that gap.”

Update August 14th, 6PM ET: Added context and a statement from Amazon’s blog post confirming the launch of the new program.