Amazon's battle against "wrap rage" - the frustration of trying to open a seemingly impenetrable package to get to the product inside - is rolling ahead at full force. Last week, the online retail giant announced that its Frustration-Free Packaging initiative, a five-year effort to liberate products from hermetically sealed clamshell cases and plastic-coated steel-wire ties, now offers more than 200,000 items. To date, Amazon has shipped over 75 million of these items to 175 countries, the company said.
Starting with just 19 Frustration-Free Packaging 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, the company told Bloomberg Businessweek.
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, founder and CEO of Amazon, 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."
Bezos first came up with the idea for Frustration-Free Packaging after struggling to open Christmas gifts for his children, the CEO told BusinessWeek in 2011, but alleviating stress is only one benefit of the program. So far, Frustration-Free Packaging has eliminated 58.9 million square feet of cardboard and 24.6 million pounds of packaging waste, according to Amazon. The program has also reduced box sizes by 14.5 million cubic feet - reducing both shipping costs and related emissions, the company said.
Amazon hopes to continue building its collection of Frustration-Free Packaging certified products by contacting companies that receive negative customer feedback about their packaging and working with them to develop more sustainable - and less infuriating - solutions. Consumer feedback is the driving force behind hundreds of packaging improvements each year, the company said.
To opt for pain-free gifts in recyclable packaging this holiday season, shoppers can view exclusively certified products in Amazon's Frustration-Free Packaging marketplace.
Image credit: Company logo via Amazon.com
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Mary also contributes to Earth911; her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.