One of the most fulfilling events in life is the birth of your first child. To bring new life into the world is an incredible experience.
With this new baby comes a large number of products. You sit back and look at all the stuff and you suddenly panic. Look at all this packaging! There’s plastic everywhere. Blister packs and acrylic plastic encase baby monitors and toys, vinyl bags contain feeding pillows, blankets, swaddling infant wraps, and even boxes are heavily laminated. Multiple plastic tabs are used to secure clothes together and twist ties are used to secure products, toys and gadgets to their packaging. One can spend hours on research and pay a premium for organic clothing, crib sheets and feeding pillow covers, only to receive them packaged in unrecyclable materials. An expensive organic mattress arrives covered in large plastic wrapping. One can understand the need to protect these products while on the store shelves and during shipping, but surely a better solution can be found.
The Amazon Frustration Free Packaging initiative is a bold attempt to remedy the situation. Amazon is working with over 30 vendors in order to create more environmentally friendly packaging. This program has helped to eliminate hard plastic clamshell casings, plastic bindings, and wire ties. According to Amazon’s website, these packages are designed to be opened without the use of a box cutter or knife and will protect your product during shipping just as well as traditional packaging. Products with Frustration-Free Packaging can frequently be shipped in their own boxes, without an additional shipping box.
We are also beginning to see some toy companies move towards creating packaging that uses more recycled materials, but change needs to happen sooner.
We spend so much time and effort talking about creating greener modes of transportation and energy, building more environmentally friendly electronics and improving food production methods. We spend money on more sustainable household items all in name of saving the world for our children. Let’s not forget about the products that are created for our children. How can we celebrate a new life in the world but create more toxic trash and junk? This is a call to action for designers. Creating greener products for our children is step in the right direction; much has been said about the actual materials that make up out baby products, but let’s not forget about the packaging. The Amazon solution is effective in part because there is no need for retail shelf marketing. We as design managers need to search further and develop innovative methods to package, ship, market, and display these products.
Let’s do this for the children.