This Makes Me Happy

Astounding news from Amazon and the NYT: “frustration-free” packaging, made up of simple, recycled cardboard, is a big hit with consumers. I have long decried the inefficient, wasteful and oil dependent packaging that is part of our modern consumer experience. Yes, it’s more theft deterrent, but it invariably ends up in landfills for a thousand years and ensures that we need ever more petroleum. Our addiction to the black goo has accompanied a revolution in plastics and their use in damn near everything. Anyone who has bought a flash drive knows what I’m talking about: a 1/10 oz. drive and 10 oz. of plastic packaging. Who wouldn’t feel guilty just throwing it away, especially since most of it isn’t designed to be recyclable? Not to mention the frustrating task of just getting the damn thing open in the first place.

Amazon hopes to change that. And they’ve brought data to manufacturers to bolster their case. IT turns out, consumers are thrilled with simple cardboard and give products 73% less negative feedback when it is utilized. The article makes clear that this is a small, but growing trend, with giant retailers like Wal-Mart slow to adopt the change. But it makes me hopeful. Buying things is already a guilty pleasure as it is. It shouldn’t have to be environmentally disastrous too. Maybe in the not too distant future, we’ll have a completely sustainable consumer experience. If Amazon customer reviews are as influential as sometimes touted, then it might not be so distant after all.


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