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Amazon launches Frustration-Free Packaging

Amazon launches Frustration-Free Packaging

The company is starting the Frustration-Free Packaging initiative with a scant nineteen products, but aims to grow the project quickly.

If, like me, you have something of an unhealthy addiction to new and shiny gadgets, you've probably encountered 'packaging rage': the displeasure you experience when you can't play with a new toy because the tamper proof box appears to be constructed of adamantium. If so, you'll be pleased to hear that Amazon have decided to take the initiative in doing away with such frustrations once and for all.

Engadget reports that the company is offering a service it dubs “Frustration-Free Packaging” whereby products from certain companies will be available in a streamlined form constructed from recycled cardboard and with a minimum of waste. Finally.

For its initial run, a mere nineteen products from companies including Fisher-Price, Microsoft, Mattel, and Transcend will be offered with the Frustration-Free Packaging option. The good news is that this is just the beginning, with CEO Jeff Bezos stating that he sees the ultimate goal being “to offer our entire catalog of products in Frustration-Free Packaging,” although he expects the endeavour to “take many years” to accomplish.

Small starts aside, this is an initiative I can only see as offering benefits to all involved. The consumer gets easier access to the toy they've been slavering over, Amazon saves on shipping costs due to reduced weight, the manufacturer saves on packaging costs, and the environment has less wasted plastic dumped into its landfills. I certainly hope that Bezos keeps his word, and that the Frustration-Free Packaging initiative survives beyond a quick grab for a few column inches.

If you're hoping to see the initiative on Amazon's UK site, you'll have to be patient: the project is due to roll out across all international sites early 2009.

Is this music to your ears, or does the resistance of the packaging only make the experience of new gadget acquisition more enjoyable? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

20 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Arkanrais 4th November 2008, 10:31 Quote
I'm not too fussed. My Ka-Bar takes care of any and all niggly packaging in seconds.
naokaji 4th November 2008, 10:34 Quote
About time, especially for pc parts in the uk as there are no decent retail shops anyway, which means we all order online, so all those overboard retail packagings are just annoying and dont even boost sales.
UncertainGod 4th November 2008, 10:51 Quote
A good move, I'm of the opinion that excessive packaging should be legislated against if anyone high up is actually serious about this environment thing.
Flibblebot 4th November 2008, 11:03 Quote
Excessive packaging is legislated against, which is the reason why games are now sold in DVD-style boxes rather than the massive boxes of yesteryear (something to do with the packaging misrepresenting the actual amount of contents in the box).

What I hope this means is that boxes will now be designed to be easily opened. I hate those boxes that have no easily identifiable opening flap, or those that have three or more layers of packaging (cardboard box, blister pack, baggies, baggies within baggies, ad infinitum)

I tend to buy OEM where I can, just to cut down on the amount of crap packaging and useless extras (that I never use, anyway).

If MS are part of the scheme, does that mean we're going to get sensible, easy to open boxes for Windows 7?
Nexxo 4th November 2008, 11:15 Quote
Not something that will take off in high street shops, I'm afraid. Packaging is purposely designed to be hard to open to discourage theft of its contents.
yakyb 4th November 2008, 12:13 Quote
i cant stand the enormous staples on the side of most large boxes hopefully they will be gone soon enough
cpemma 4th November 2008, 14:45 Quote
Just as big an irritation as sealed-for-life blister packaging is the fact that although the clear plastic is marked 'recycle' our council will not take it in the recycle bin. Plastic bottles only.

But Nexxo is right, the big blister packs are (a) to see exactly what you're getting, (b) to make it slightly harder to pinch the goods.
Gareth Halfacree 4th November 2008, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpemma
Just as big an irritation as sealed-for-life blister packaging is the fact that although the clear plastic is marked 'recycle' our council will not take it in the recycle bin. Plastic bottles only.
'Tis actually a big marketing lie. The recycle symbol does not mean that an item can be recycled - at least, not always.

If the symbol has a 1 in the middle, it's recyclable at little to no cost.
If the symbol has a 2 in the middle, it's recyclable at a slightly greater cost than you'll get for the end material.
If the symbol has a 3 in the middle, it's economically unfeasible to recycle.
If the symbol has a 4 in the middle, it cannot be recycled yet - we don't have the technology required.

Next time you get something with plastic packaging, look at the number in the recycling symbol embossed in the plastic. I guarantee it'll be a 4.
Stuey 4th November 2008, 15:08 Quote
I've noticed that in recent months, Amazon has reduced its packaging materials as well. No longer do I receive huge boxes with single DVD purchases!
Stuey 4th November 2008, 15:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
'Tis actually a big marketing lie. The recycle symbol does not mean that an item can be recycled - at least, not always.

If the symbol has a 1 in the middle, it's recyclable at little to no cost.
If the symbol has a 2 in the middle, it's recyclable at a slightly greater cost than you'll get for the end material.
If the symbol has a 3 in the middle, it's economically unfeasible to recycle.
If the symbol has a 4 in the middle, it cannot be recycled yet - we don't have the technology required.

Next time you get something with plastic packaging, look at the number in the recycling symbol embossed in the plastic. I guarantee it'll be a 4.
Where are you getting this from?

Recycling codes (at least in the US) span from 1 to 7 and designate the type of plastic the material is composed of.

LINK
Gareth Halfacree 4th November 2008, 15:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuey
Where are you getting this from?

Recycling codes (at least in the US) span from 1 to 7 and designate the type of plastic the material is composed of.

LINK
Hrm. In that case, I sit corrected. I honestly can't remember where I got my information from, but it was clearly an unreliable source.
KayinBlack 4th November 2008, 16:49 Quote
For those of us with arthritis and other problems with our hands, it's a great thing.
Flibblebot 4th November 2008, 16:59 Quote
He's right. According to this site:
1 means the product is made from PET;
2 for HDPE (high density polythene);
3 for PVC;
4 for LDPE (low density polythene);
5 for PP (polypropylene);
6 for PS (polystyrene);
7 for anything else.

Anything with a 4 and above is commonly not recycled because of the difficulty involved in the recycling process. There is also the fact that many councils don't recycle all plastics because unless they're separated at source, it is actually quite labour intensive to separate by hand, which may actually make the recycling process financially unviable.
Gareth Halfacree 4th November 2008, 17:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Anything with a 4 and above is commonly not recycled because of the difficulty involved in the recycling process. There is also the fact that many councils don't recycle all plastics because unless they're separated at source, it is actually quite labour intensive to separate by hand, which may actually make the recycling process financially unviable.
That's probably what my addled brain turned into "four cannot be recycled."
Stuey 4th November 2008, 17:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Hrm. In that case, I sit corrected. I honestly can't remember where I got my information from, but it was clearly an unreliable source.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
That's probably what my addled brain turned into "four cannot be recycled."
No problem. I was just afraid that either you were correct, or there were different codes on different continents or something like that.
Spaceraver 5th November 2008, 05:27 Quote
I Welcome the plain cardboard box. With a white sticker on the outside. That way they can have 1 (One) on display outside the box with info underneath. Why does everything i buy seems to have "go faster" packaging anyhoo? I remember getting my laing pump and most of my watercooling gear in plain cardboard boxes. With a sticker on the outside specifying what it does. That is all I need.
crazybob 5th November 2008, 06:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceraver
I Welcome the plain cardboard box. With a white sticker on the outside. That way they can have 1 (One) on display outside the box with info underneath. Why does everything i buy seems to have "go faster" packaging anyhoo? I remember getting my laing pump and most of my watercooling gear in plain cardboard boxes. With a sticker on the outside specifying what it does. That is all I need.
This makes good sense to me. There's no real need to advertise a product on its own box, because by the time you're that close to the object, there's no reason for there not to be a display sample and spec sheet set up in the store (and it's even easier online).
naokaji 5th November 2008, 08:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazybob
This makes good sense to me. There's no real need to advertise a product on its own box, because by the time you're that close to the object, there's no reason for there not to be a display sample and spec sheet set up in the store (and it's even easier online).

Especially if it comes to pcs where the retail shops are going the way of the dodo and when ordering online it really doesnt matter.
notatoad 5th November 2008, 09:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceraver
I Welcome the plain cardboard box. With a white sticker on the outside. That way they can have 1 (One) on display outside the box with info underneath. Why does everything i buy seems to have "go faster" packaging anyhoo? I remember getting my laing pump and most of my watercooling gear in plain cardboard boxes. With a sticker on the outside specifying what it does. That is all I need.

because an array of brightly colored shiny stuff catches your eye a lot better than a wall of brown boxes. for mail-order shopping packaging is not a marketing tool but as long as the product is on store shelves the manufacturer is going to want attractive packaging.
cpu121 7th November 2008, 03:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuey
I've noticed that in recent months, Amazon has reduced its packaging materials as well. No longer do I receive huge boxes with single DVD purchases!

Not surprising. Here in the UK, Royal Mail have introducted Pricing in Proportion where postal prices depend on the size as well as weight of the item. This is because the limit for how much RM (and most companies that have to transport their products at some stage) can carry in a plane or lorry isn't weight - it's the size of the packages. By cutting down on the amount of 'air' they're transporting they can fit more products in one vehicle thus reducing the cost.
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