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Amazon to donate unsold and returned items instead of dumping them

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Amazon is starting a new program to keep unsold merchandise out of the trash.

Starting in September, the e-commerce giant will donate merchandise its third-party sellers were unable to sell or that was returned to nonprofit groups.

The program, Fulfillment by Amazon Donations, will operate in the U.S. and United Kingdom.

“We know getting products into the hands of those who need them transforms lives and strengthens local communities,” Alice Shobe, director of Amazon in the Community, said in a blog post. 

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The company says it donates millions of items annually. But Amazon has drawn criticism overseas following reports that flat-screen TVs, toys and other items were being dumped in France and Britain.

Amazon’s third party sellers have a choice of having the merchandise they store in the company’s warehouses returned to them or thrown away. With the new program, items that sellers want thrown away will be donated instead. Sellers can opt out of the program if they would like.

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