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Published
Jan 19, 2022
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Buy Me Once CEO calls for tax on retailers who destroy saleable stock

Published
Jan 19, 2022

Tara Button, founder of sustainable retailer Buy Me Once, has launched a petition to challenge big retailers who destroy or throw away perfectly good stock. She is calling for the introduction of a special tax and fines for past offences, citing Coach, Burberry, Amazon and Nike among the names known to have destroyed saleable pieces.


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The long-time eco-activist and author wants the special tax derived from the retail price of everything destroyed each year.

She said: “This would force these billionaire retailers to come up with more ethical, less wasteful ways to distribute surplus goods, and to become better at controlling over-production. If we make it too expensive for retailers to do the wrong thing, they'll be forced to do the right thing.” 

She added: “Large retailers are doing this (until whistle-blowers expose them) because it's cheaper and currently no-one is stopping them. If we make it too expensive for retailers to do the wrong thing, they'll be forced to do the right thing.”

Button is calling calls for a tax that charges a large proportion of the item’s RRP if a company wants to destroy a product, instead of recycling, discounting, or donating it. She believes this would act as a disincentive, “forcing [retailers] to change the way they create and handle waste.”

She called for such a tax to be separate from corporation tax and VAT, “so that it cannot be offset through creative accounting.”

While it would seem an unlikely idea to ever get through, the world is changing fast enough to make it a real possibility. However, her call for past offenders to be hit with fines may be less practical, especially in situations where businesses — such as Burberry — have since gone on to implement much greener policies.

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