Amazon to help How many times have you been completely frustrated with the ridiculous packaging that so many of the products we buy are entombed in? In a post I wrote back in March about a new Camelbak bladder I purchased, I praised the company for keeping their packaging simple and mostly recyclable. Its baffling to me that this should be a topic to blog so passionately about, but after opening packages of children’s toys for my daughters for the past six years worth of Christmases and Birthdays, this is a frustration that angers me to no end. What is all this crap and why do manufacturers believe they need to make opening packaging a task requiring the tools found in my workshop?

Well, has decided to take the lead on getting manufacturers to make a change to packaging that is safer, simpler to open and better for the environment. During a visit to the site this morning, I was greeted with a letter from Jeff Bezos himself, announcing the launch of their new “Frustration-Free Packaging” program. It seems children’s toys are the biggest offenders when it comes to nightmare packaging (as noted above), and Amazon has begun working with Fisher-Price and Mattel, among others, to eliminate unneeded packaging. As stated in his letter, not only does Frustration-Free packaging make the packages easier to open, it also makes it more environmentally friendly.

Take a look at this page to see the amount of junk that comes in the traditional packaging compared to the new Frustration-Free packaging. You can also watch a video comparing the time it takes to unwrap one particular product in both the traditional packaging versus the Frustration-Free packaging. This is mostly plastic pieces and plastic-covered wire ties that are destined for the trash heap from their inception. There is definitely something wrong with a society that makes stuff that’s intended use is so unneeded that its primary destination is the dump. Don’t we throw enough stuff away as it is? (And by the way, just where the heck is “away”?)

As much as I try to cut down on the cost and waste of shipping and support my local businesses, I live in an area where going to the mall is (thankfully) not an option. I find myself shopping online a lot, and this is just one more reason for me to try Amazon first. Good job, Amazon; I applaud your efforts and look forward to a sea-change in packaging practices.