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Retailers admit to ‘empty space’ packaging

Over a third of retailers have admitted to shipping products in packaging that is twice the size needed.

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An estimated £35bn could be saved in logistics each year with optimised packaging

A global study by packaging firm DS Smith and Forbes Insights has revealed the negative impact shipping ‘empty space’ is having on the environment. 34 percent of global retail business leaders admit that the packages they ship worldwide are at least double the size of the actual product inside.

The Empty Space Economy report estimates the environmental impact of shipping this empty space is significant, at least 122m tonnes of carbon dioxide unnecessarily emitted each year – the equivalent annual carbon dioxide emissions of Belgium, Pakistan or Argentina. The report also suggests that a quarter of e-commerce packaging is empty space.

Alessandro Fulvi, DS Smith marketing director says: “Removing what is effectively ‘empty space’ would translate into billions of pounds worth of potential savings in shipping costs – which are currently passed onto the consumer.

 Excess packaging and the empty space within a delivered carton frustrates the consumer and creates a negative brand experience

“As the maturity of the e-commerce shopper evolves, it is no longer acceptable just to deliver goods on time and free from damage. Excess packaging and the empty space within a delivered carton frustrates the consumer and creates a negative brand experience.”

However, optimising packaging is not topping the list of priorities for senior executives. Only 36 percent had conducted an audit of the empty space in their products’ packaging, and just 34 percent had considered a more optimised packaging solution.

Fulvi adds: “The key as with all things supply chain-related is to view the challenge holistically. There needs to be a greater focus on optimising product packaging at the manufacturing source, and thereafter at fulfilment centre level.”

Do you often receive parcels far too big for the size of the product? Email me at summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or reach out on Twitter to have your say.

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