By David Kiefaber
Amazon.com’s efforts to ship things in “frustration-free packaging” (meaning no plastic cases, bubble wrap or other irritants) keeps hitting roadblocks because a lot of manufacturers, and other online retailers, are slow to adopt it. But why? It’s environmentally responsible, less expensive and better for customers who hate complicated packaging. The answer, according to environmental experts like Anne Johnson of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, is that a lot of big companies drag their heels in response to change, be it fair or foul. “One of the biggest hurdles is to convince a company that it’s worthwhile, or the volume is there, to sell the same product in two different formats,” Johnson tells The New York Times. Stephen Lester, science director at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, agrees, adding that “whenever you have a system set up to run your business, making any change means time and money.” Which makes a certain kind of sense. But inertia isn’t a good enough excuse to ignore both customers and retail giants like Amazon. Yes, “wrap rage” is pathetic, and plastic packaging isn’t a curb worth tripping over. But it is wasteful of time, resources and money. Brands that don’t want to come off as unsympathetic or uncooperative need to shake the lead out and find a way to incorporate simpler packaging. If nothing else, it’ll give their uppity green-local-recycled product stickers that much more credibility.