Amazon wages war on waste with ‘frustration free’ packaging

Amazon has reached a key milestone in its sustainable packaging aims, announcing that 200,000 of its products now come in easy-to-open, recyclable cardboard designed to alleviate "wrap rage".

The retailer’s Frustration-Free Packaging initiative – a drive to liberate products from hermetically sealed clamshell cases and plastic-coated steel-wire ties – began five years ago with just 19 products.

In an effort to alleviate the frustration customers experienced when opening toys and electronics, Amazon worked with leading manufacturers to deliver products inside smaller, easy-to-open, recyclable cardboard boxes that reduce the overall amount of material used.

Launched in 2008, participation in the initiative has grown from 4 to over 2,000 manufacturers, including Fisher-Price, Mattel, Unilever, Seventh Generation, Belkin, Victorinox Swiss Army and Logitech. To date, Amazon has shipped over 75 million Frustration-Free items to 175 countries.

It has resulted in impressive waste reduction gains for the retailer, eliminating 58.9 million square feet of cardboard, removing 24.7 million pounds of packaging and reducing box sizes by 14.5 million cubic feet.

“We have 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,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO.

Amazon customers have also helped guide the programme with their ratings and feedback on product packaging, which is informing work going forward on the project.

Maxine Perella

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie