Right now, it is perfectly legal for brand-new items to go straight to landfill or incineration.

Lyndsey O'Connell

This has been going on for years, but due to a lack of transparency, we have no idea just how big this problem is. Every now and then, we will get a bit of information that will become a short-lived scandal, like Cartier who destroyed over £400m of its watches in 2018, or how H&M had burned 60 tons of new and unsold clothes since 2013.

Despite the public outrage that accompanies such revelations, companies continue to persist in this practice. That is why VOICE is so excited about Senator Lynn Boylans Ban on Dumping New Products Bill.

Why do companies throw away perfectly good items?

Companies like Amazon, ASOS, Cartier, H&M, Nike all send brand-new, unsold items straight to landfill or incineration every day. In 2020, an ITV investigation exposed how companies, like Amazon, are sending Dyson dryers, Apple MacBooks and Ipads straight to landfill or to be destroyed. But it's not just Amazon. For a very long time, the fashion industry has burned and dumped thousands of tonnes of perfectly good items. Most of it is unworn.

They do this for a number of reasons. Some companies have calculated that it is more expensive to store the unwaned or outdated goods than simply destroy them. For others, it is a matter of branding. Companies like Cartier, Burberry, Michael Korrs, and Urban Outfitters all destroy their unsold products to stop them from being sold off at a discount. According to a spokesperson, to do so, would have negatively impacted their exclusive reputation.

Why is this bill so important?

Today, Senator Lynn Boylan is bringing a Bill to the Seanad that will carry a financial penalty for any corporations found guilty of this practice and instead make it mandatory for corporations to donate any unsold or returned items to charities and second-hand shops.

The Ban on Dumping New Products Bill, prohibits the disposal of new and unused goods in landfill sites. It places an obligation to reuse the products by social enterprises such as second-hand shops, charities or NGOs. The Minister for the Environment will be empowered to define which social enterprises qualify in regulation.

This legislation targets the wasteful practice of discarding products that are still functional and valuable, contributing to the unsustainable depletion of resources and environmental harm.

By banning the dumping of new products, Ireland is taking a firm stance against needless waste and actively promoting a circular economy. Instead of discarding usable goods, the bill encourages repairing, repurposing, or redistributing them. This approach aligns perfectly with VOICE's vision of using resources wisely and embracing the principles of a just transition.

What can I do?

Please email senators and ask them to support this bill in full. You can find a full list of Senators HERE