Home » Economy » Amazon Marketplace: It pays to donate products – in Germany

Amazon Marketplace: It pays to donate products – in Germany

Im Global Waste Monitor, which was co-written by the United Nations among others, you can read how much electronic waste is produced annually. The current issue from June 2020 states that the mountain of electronic waste worldwide has grown by 21 percent in the last five years to a new record high of 53.6 million tons for 2019. In Germany, far too little electronic waste is properly disposed of so that it can be recycled. The federal government now wants to do something against electronic waste and is becoming one Amendment to the law on electrical and electronic equipment which will come into force in 2022. According to the environmental protection organization Greenpeace destroys Amazon unsold goods from third-party dealerswho offer their products on Amazon.

The business with destroy stations

The online retailer Amazon has set up so-called destroy stations at eight workstations in Winsen. Returned goods are unpacked and then destroyed. Although Amazon offers marketplace sellers to dispose of unsold goods, this often means destroying the goods. The longer goods are not sold and thus occupy storage space, the more expensive the fees for third-party providers that have to pay them to Amazon. As a result, retailers repeatedly decide to have returned goods destroyed.

“The legal regulations in Germany still stipulate that sales tax must be paid on products that are donated. And many small retailers simply cannot afford that.” – Ralf Kleber, head of Amazon Germany.

The Amazon Germany boss Ralf Kleber defends himself in an interview with the Handelsblatt against the allegations and explains that in principle only products are destroyed “that can no longer be sold for reasons of hygiene or product liability”. According to its own statement, Amazon is said to have donated around 1.5 million unsold packages to local food banks in 2020. However, this only relates to products that Amazon manufactures or sells itself and not to products that are sold by marketplace sellers on Amazon. Ralf Kleber explains that the sales tax that has to be paid on donated products makes it economical for many makes smaller retailers unprofitableto donate unsold, returned goods.

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According to Kleber, the future federal government urgently needs to change the legal situation, because currently destruction is often cheaper than donations. In many other countries, such as the UK and France, businesses don’t have to pay sales tax when unsold goods are donated to charities. The online retailer sells returned goods at a reduced price in the Amazon warehouse. You can even save twice in the Amazon warehouse around Black Friday.

Also worth reading: Fight against electronic waste: Electronic devices are rarely repaired

Collection for the destruction of new goods on Amazon:

  • According to research by the environmental protection organization Greenpeace, Amazon is supposed to operate several Destroy stations in Winsen. Returned goods are destroyed here.
  • According to Ralf Kleber, head of Amazon Germany, this actually only applies to products “which are no longer allowed to be sold for reasons of hygiene or product liability”.
  • For retailers who sell their goods via the Amazon Marketplace, donating unsold products is not worthwhile, as the retailers have to pay sales tax on the goods. The destruction by Amazon, which is also chargeable, is cheaper.
  • In Germany, the legal situation would first have to change in order for donations to be attractive, said Kleber. Other countries are the model here, such as B. UK or France where there are no such taxes for retailers.

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Sources: Handelsblatt, Golem, Greenpeace

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