Utne Blogs > Environment

Packaging Be Gone

by Cally Carswell 

Tags: Environment, green living, packaging, consumer waste, holiday waste, trash, landfills, clamshell packaging, Use Less Stuff, Hartford Courant, Unpackaged, Green Futures,

Clamshell packagingAll those extravagant holiday feasts, pretty packages, and shiny clamshells encasing gifts add up to a whole lot of extra trash this time of year—5 million tons, to be exact. That’s according to the Use Less Stuff Report, which asserts that between Thanksgiving and New Years, American waste grows by 25 percent.

But thanks to a “historic burst of common sense,” reports the Hartford Courant, there may be a little less plastic filling our landfills this holiday season. Amazon.com recently announced that it’s phasing out clamshells—those endlessly annoying hard plastic encasements that take an entire toolbox to open—in favor of recyclable cardboard. According to the Courant, Amazon is starting with 19 products but ultimately aims to outfit all its products with what the company calls “frustration-free packaging.”

Of course, excessive, frustration-full packaging isn’t just a holiday problem, but is it possible to avoid in everyday life? It is if you frequent London’s Unpackaged, a shop entirely devoted to ridding its customers’ lives of one-time-use packaging. Unpackaged sells everything from banana chips and shower gel to cheese, eggs, and juice, all package-free, and also stocks reusable containers for customers who forget to bring their own from home. (Thanks, Green Futures.)

Image by miss rogue, licensed under Creative Commons.