Amazon Promotes “Frustration-Free Packaging Initiative”

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Just in time for the gift-giving season, the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com continues to promote it’s Frustration-Free Packaging initiative. This initiative is a five-year effort to not only make products easier to open, but to create sustainable and recyclable packaging.

In a 2008 letter written to customers, Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos describes “wrap rage” as the frustration we feel when trying to free a product from a nearly impenetrable package. And we’ve all experienced it – from cutting through thick plastic and scraping our fingers against sharp edges, to pulling packaging apart with all our might, the process of opening up a present has become a chore.

Whether the products are encapsulated in plastic clamshell cases or have multiple plastic-coated steel-wire ties that secure toys to their cardboard backing, not only are packages time-consuming to open, but this type of packaging seems to be a waste of resources.

While Amazon kicked off its “Frustration-Free Packaging” initiative in 2008 with 19 items certified products from such companies as Mattel and Microsoft, Amazon’s packaging program now includes more than 2,000 manufacturers, including top names like Fisher-Price, Unilever and Logitech. Amazon works with these manufacturers to deliver products inside smaller, easy-to-open, recyclable cardboard boxes that reduce the overall amount of packaging used while still protecting what’s inside. The company even offers engineers to help brands improve their packaging design.

To date, Amazon has shipped over 75 million of these items to 175 countries, the company said.

For a product to qualify for Frustration-Free Packaging certification, its packaging must be easy to open, without using a knife or box cutter, and recyclable, with no excess materials like plastic clamshell casings and wire ties. Most products under the packaging program can also be shipped in their own boxes.

“We’ve all experienced the frustration of trying to remove a product from nearly impenetrable packaging like plastic clamshell cases and products bound by dozens of wire ties,” Jeff Bezos said in a news release. “We’ve worked with both manufacturers and customers to design Frustration-Free Packaging that is easy-to-open, protects the product and reduces waste.”

Article by Allison Winter, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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