Ten years ago this holiday season, Amazon introduced its Frustration-Free Packaging, an invention “designed to reduce waste and delight customers with easy-to-open, 100% recyclable packaging,” says Amazon. Frustration-Free Packaging also eliminated plastic bindings, wire ties, and clamshell casings, to make boxes simple to open. It also enabled products to be shipped in their original packaging, eliminating the need for an additional shipping box.
Since launching in November 2008 with 19 items, Amazon’s packaging programs have grown to include both Frustration-Free Packaging and Ships in Own Container. In 2017 alone, Amazon has delivered 120 million shipments with packaging that is certified Frustration-Free or Ships in Own Container. To date, Amazon’s sustainable packaging innovations have eliminated 181,000 tons of packaging material and avoided 307 million shipping boxes—enough boxes to fill more than 550,000 semi-trucks.
“A decade ago we set out to invent packaging that is easy for customers to open, eliminates waste, and ensures products arrive undamaged on our customers’ doorsteps,” says Kim Houchens, Director of Customer Packaging Experience at Amazon. “Our certified packaging programs, including Frustration-Free Packaging, have delighted tens of millions of customers around the globe—and we’re adding new products to these programs every day.”
One of the biggest challenges in e-commerce packaging is designing it to be as compact as possible while ensuring that products arrive fully intact, Amazon says. To address this challenge, Amazon works with manufacturers worldwide, helping them rethink and rebuild their packaging, reducing waste throughout the supply chain while ensuring products are delivered to the customer undamaged. By thoroughly testing products in the Amazon Packaging Lab located in Seattle and also in fulfillment centers across the globe, Amazon identifies specific steps that manufacturers can take to improve their packaging. Manufacturers can even work alongside packaging engineers in Amazon’s Lab to create new packaging for a specific product and test the packaging the same day. Only products that successfully pass this rigorous testing program are certified as part of Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging Program.
Says Kathrin Belliveau, Senior Vice President, Global Government, Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, for Hasbro, Inc., “For years, Hasbro has been hard at work to make our toy and game packaging more sustainable. We love how Frustration-Free Packaging allows us to deepen our commitment to sustainability, enables our consumers to enjoy their toys and games the minute they unwrap the box, and reduces waste—good for the environment, good for consumers, and good for business.”
Says Mike Corbo, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Colgate Palmolive, “Sustainable growth for Colgate Palmolive means a focus on minimizing our environmental impact while continuing to expand our global business. Working with Amazon on packaging innovations has enabled us to do just that. Packaging waste is costly—for the business and for the planet—so we’re excited to be working with Amazon to drive sustainability improvements.”