In the halls of Procter & Gamble, they tell the story this way: An Amazon packaging engineer came to town, pointed to P&G’s instantly recognizable orange Tide laundry detergent bottles, and challenged the team to turn the bottle into a box. The box would serve as its own shipping container, with a more concentrated formula and reduced package waste.

The Tide Eco Box ships in its own container, then transforms into a detergent dispenser.

“It's a huge challenge to convert something like the iconic bottle into a totally new format that the consumer has never seen,” said P&G E-Commerce and Innovation Brand Manager Isaac Hellemn. “How do we take this bottle that's full of heavy liquid and transform it into a box?”

The company knew it was the right thing to do, Hellemn acknowledged. After all, that orange bottle is designed to stand out on a crowded store shelf. But in a world where customers increasingly buy products like Tide online, the added packaging used to ship a large plastic bottle just means more waste. Not only that, but since the size or shelf impression of the product being sold online is irrelevant, engineers could re-mix the detergent formula using less water to make the product smaller and more light-weight.

“As a consumer, when I'm unboxing packages and I'm taking out the layers of bubble wrap and the packaging it feels wasteful,” said P&G’s Elizabeth Kinney. “So to design that out of the product and start with something that doesn't require a secondary package and it ships in its own container, that's a huge win for the environment.”

A basket of laundry sits atop a washer and dryer. Next to the laundry basket there are two containers of Tide laundry detergent. One is made of plastic. The other is made of cardboard and sits atop two triangular legs.
Two ways to clean 96 loads of laundry: the plastic Tide packaging commonly seen on store shelves (left) and the new Tide Eco-Box (right). The Eco-Box folds out from its own shipping container and includes “feet” and a twist tap for pouring.
Vintage print advertisement for Tide laundry detergent. The ad shows a woman holding a box of Tide aloft. The text at the top of the ad says "washday miracle" in all-capital letters.
Tide is one of Procter & Gamble’s oldest and most iconic brands, and has been around virtually since washing machines became mainstream appliances.
The series of photos in this animated GIF show five different containers for Tide laundry detergent. The images show the evolution of Procter & Gamble's prototypes that led to the Tide Eco-Box.
Tide evolved its Eco-Box from bottle form, through various prototypes, to the ultimate product sold on It was designed to use less plastic and ship in its own packaging.

The result is the new Tide Eco-Box that uses 60 percent less plastic than the comparable bottle version and 30 percent less water. The new box is also four pounds lighter.

“It's very rare, and so it's been rewarding for me to find something that is a win, not only for the consumer, but for the company and for the environment,” said Kinney.

Brent Nelson, the Amazon engineer who issued the package transformation challenge to Tide, said he’s doing the same thing with major brands producing all kinds of products.

“This is a very important topic for our customers,” said Nelson. “They expect us to collaborate with selling partners like Procter & Gamble to innovate on their behalf. And ultimately, it's around reducing packaging waste.”

Amazon introduced Frustration-Free Packaging 11 years ago, the first of a suite of sustainable packaging initiatives that have eliminated 458,000 tons of packaging materials, avoiding 1 billion shipping boxes.

Nelson hopes the Tide Eco-Box inspires more brands to do the same thing, making life easier for the customer while helping the environment.

Learn more about our sustainable packaging initiatives.