So anyone with children in their lives knows that’s it’s pretty hard to avoid buying at least a few things at this time of year. We’re doing our best to find a few things that our kids will really like while still minimizing our impact on the environment. This year the Nature Conservatory has launched a movement to change “Cyber Monday” into “Green Gift Monday“. They are encouraging people to buy Green products and to minimize their impact on the environment with their holiday purchases.
One way to reduce your impact on the environment is to consider the packaging when purchasing kids toys. Most parents have dealt with layers of plastic containers, wires and strings tying the toys to layers of cardboard and difficult to wrap oddly shaped packages. The children don’t like this packaging any more than the parents do and it’s all headed quickly to the trash. Most of that packaging isn’t recyclable or reusable. But what can you do? If you want the doll or toy you have to put up with the packaging designed to hold it perfectly in place while it is shipped around the world and to the store shelf where you purchase it.
Believe it or not, Amazon.com is starting a movement to revolutionize product packaging. Their movement isn’t new, they started “Frustration-Free Packaging” in 2008. According to their web page:
It’s a multi-year initiative designed to alleviate “wrap rage,” featuring recyclable boxes that are easy to open and free of clamshells and wire ties.
Amazon works directly with manufacturers like Fisher-Price and Leapfrog to package products directly into recyclable boxes that can be shipped in their own boxes without an additional shipping box. The item is exactly the same, but when your child opens the box they can immediately pull out their present and use it without waiting for someone to help them free it from its restraints. All the packing materials can be directly recycled in paper recycling or reused.
Vendors are allowed to sell their products in Frustration-Free Packaging in any of their outlets, therefore I encourage you to watch for it wherever you are shopping and purchase these versions. For example, I was shopping directly on LeapFrog’s website yesterday and I had the choice to order a product in either regular or frustration free packaging – I bet you can guess which I chose!
There is even an option for you to help influence this program. If you purchase anything that is shipped through Amazon (usually anything eligible for Super-Saver Shipping), after the product arrives you can go to their Packaging Feedback site (only works if you have recently placed an order) and provide direct feedback of the packaging. Amazon then uses this feedback to work directly with manufacturers to improve the packaging of the products they sell.
As I was doing research for this article, I discovered that Amazon has a huge program to implement environmental and energy initiatives throughout their company around the world. You can read more about their “Earth Kaizens” program directly on their website. I was very impressed by the efforts they are making.
You can buy a lot more than just toys packed in Frustration-Free Packaging including electronics, food, household supplies, and even our favorite, toilet paper!
So whether you are going green with your holiday shopping or your regular household purchases, consider the packaging and if you can’t get frustration free packaging, let Amazon know you want it next time!