Innovating to reduce spills in transit

In an effort to reduce waste at every step of our supply chain, we are constantly exploring ways to minimise damage to products during the transportation and delivery process. When products spill or break during transit, it not only creates product and packaging waste, but requires additional shipping and processing efforts, all of which contribute to our carbon footprint. We are working directly with manufacturers and suppliers to make packaging more durable for the journey between a manufacturer’s facility and a customer’s home without the need for excessive protective packaging that ends up in the waste stream.

To help target products where even small packaging improvements can have significant impacts on reducing waste, we developed a machine learning model to identify liquid products with the highest average rates of customer-reported damages. We then subjected 14 of the most commonly damaged liquid products to extensive additional testing at our Amazon Packaging Lab, where we simulate a package’s journey from the manufacturer to the customer.

Through this process, we teamed up with Rieke—a packaging solutions firm that makes dispensing systems for personal care, food and healthcare products—to provide data and packaging insights on many of the conventional dispensing systems that are used in millions of products you see on Amazon. By strengthening materials, creating new locking mechanisms to prevent pumps from twisting open, and sealing potential leak points, Rieke’s team has created dispensers specially designed to withstand the journey to the customer. These new and improved designs include trigger sprayers common on household cleaners and personal care products, pumps for lotions and pumps for foams.

Rieke’s new trigger sprayer design, for example, reduces the number of packaging components from five to one and cuts package volume by nearly 50 %, earning Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging certification. Product manufacturers such as Unilever are adopting these dispensers, and you can find the redesigned lotion pumps on body washes from Caress and Dove. Rieke is also developing entirely new forms of packaging for liquid products sold on Amazon, such as sprayer and foaming caps that are activated by squeezing instead of hand triggers or pumps.

Some of these changes might seem simple, and most will go unnoticed by customers. But whether the adjustments are straightforward tweaks or complex feats of engineering, they all represent significant changes to how products are shipped, delighting customers and reducing packaging waste. These innovations are just one part of Amazon’s efforts to reduce waste in packaging and achieve net zero carbon shipments through our Shipment Zero goal.

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