Amazon Reduces Waste with “Frustration-Free Packaging”

by Tim Fulton on November 4, 2008

It wasn’t too long ago that I was beginning to feel seriously frustrated with that amount of packaging that certain things you bought online would come in. I recently purchased some cookware and was annoyed to see it some in two boxes, one of which had more boxes in side of it and tons of filler between the boxes. I knew there were some good reasons for this (one box fits all means you’re going to have to adapt them a bit), but I still wondered if there was a better solution.

Well, as if Amazon had been reading my mind, the release one just a few days later: Frustration-Free Packaging. FFP is intended to do a few things: cut down packaging, cut down costs, cut down the annoyance of opening plastic clamshells, and prevent people from cutting themselves with the things they use to open traditional packaging.

Here’s what Amazon says is at the heart of what they’re doing:

What’s the difference between Frustration-Free Packaging and traditional packaging?

The Frustration-Free Package (on the left in the picture above) is recyclable and comes without excess packaging materials such as hard plastic clamshell casings, plastic bindings, and wire ties. It’s designed to be opened without the use of a box cutter or knife and will protect your product just as well as traditional packaging (on the right). Products with Frustration-Free Packaging can frequently be shipped in their own boxes, without an additional shipping box.

Given Amazon’s considerable power in consumer marketing, this is definitely a very positive step. Shipping from online retailers is often more environmentally friendly because there are less people driving their cars and less strip malls and retailers sucking down power. However, shipping also meanings putting things is boxes with packing material and all of that, so sometimes when end up throwing quite a bit out.

As Amazon states on their site, this is a work in progress, with only some toys and consumer electronics currently sent in FFP. Their goal is to have everything they sell come in FFP, but this might take several years as they have to work out these deals directly with product manufacturers. I, at least, am hoping that happens.

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1 Aunt T November 5, 2008 at 7:06 pm

This is a great idea! Thanks for the post!

2 load shedding August 30, 2010 at 6:11 am

This is definitely a step in the right direction as far as packaging (and packaging waste) goes…and let me just say…I’m really excited any time I can avoid those (incredibly irritating) plastic clamshell things.

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