Bunnings responds to outrage over photo of discarded products

A shocking detail in a photo snapped by a tradie has sparked wastage concerns.

A photo has emerged of a huge amount of discarded Bunnings stock seemingly headed for landfill, however it turns out there's a less sinister explanation behind the image. Posted to a popular Facebook group for Aussie tradies, the picture shows a pile of products — including power tools from the popular Ozito range, instantly recognisable for its red packaging.

The post, captioned "Bunnings return policy in action at a tip", shocked members of the group, with hundreds expressing outrage over the apparent wastage and questioning the quality of the tools.

"They could sell items as 'damaged or repairable' or factory seconds for a quarter of the price and keep them out of landfill," one tradesman argued. "If all the Bunnings and Foodstuffs of the world were taxed heavily for unusable, damaged and repairable goods in their possession, what would the outcome be?" another said.

Piles of discarded Bunnings products at a recycling and recovery transfer station
A massive pile of discarded Bunnings products has ignited a lively discussion amongst Aussie tradies. Source: Facebook/L. O'Neill

However, one eagle-eyed tradie was having none of it, informing the group that the photo was taken at a recycling and recovery transfer station, rather than a tip. "For everyone saying it's landfill, that photo is taken at Cleanaway Brooklyn Transfer Station," he said. "Yes it's in the pit, but that is actually the metal pile which gets sent straight to Sims Metal Management."

Indeed, Yahoo News Australia understands that the products in question were yet to be processed through Cleanaway's sorting and recovery procedures, with as much material as possible to be recovered and recycled.

Bunnings works with suppliers and a third party to assess and process products that have been returned to stores by customers. Following assessment, a portion of these returned products are then resold via other channels. However, there are also some goods left over which can not be sold, due to safety issues or damage, and it's these particular products that are then sent to resource recovery centres for salvaging.

Cleanaway resource recovery centre
Cleanaway resource recovery centres salvage household and commercial waste for recovery and recycling. Source: Cleanaway

Bunnings responds

In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, Bunnings Managing Director said the hardware chain is firmly committed to reducing its impact on the environment.

"At Bunnings, we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our operations," he said. "We know how important it is to reduce, reuse and recycle materials in our supply chain and we're working really hard to do better every year. This includes working with our suppliers to remove unnecessary packaging, diverting more materials for recycling, offering a battery recycling program for customers and introducing pot plant recycling in our stores."

Image spurs debate over tools

Meanwhile, some tradies said the many Ozito products in the photo were only good for the dump anyway. "It's Ozito, what do you expect? It's only made for single use," commented one group member. "The cardboard boxes they come in have more integrity then the items," added another.

However, others jumped to the Bunnings tool brand's defence, sharing stories of products that had stood the test of time. "I've had an Ozito drill I've used to mix plaster and paint for four years and it still hasn't burnt out," one fan said. "My Ozito hammer drill was 99 bucks, sat on the back of a ute for 10 years, including 10 winters of rain etc and never missed a beat," replied another happy tradesman.

Another group member suggested the reason so many Ozito tools are discarded is that tradespeople buy them for commercial or industrial use, which they're not designed for. "They are home quality tools built to a budget to be used once or twice a month," he wrote. "Not daily, plasterers and painters are shocking for it."

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