Is it the end of the clamshell packaging? I hope so.

by Mark R

If you are not familiar with clamshell packaging, it is what you see on that package of three pilers on the image to your left. I’m sure you can’t stand opening this plastic coated nightmare, as it never opens easily.

On an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David is excited about his new gadget, until he can’t get it out of its clamshell plastic. He eventually ends up swearing and stabbing the packaging with a knife.

This packaging might deter theft and keep the materials inside safe, but it often does its job too well. Not only that, it requires a lot of plastic to do so, which is bad for the environment.

Both Wal-Mart and the Home Deport have recently pledged to cut down on wasteful packaging, and the clamshell was high on the list of packaging types to eliminate. The cost of plastic packaging has shot up since the rise of oil prices, and lighter and more environmentally-friendly packaging is being developed. The lighter the packaging, the cheaper it will cost to ship it.

In short, eliminating the clamshell is good for just about everybody. So why not join the fight. Go and enter in a comment with your clamshell frustration story. I’m not certain whether we should have a boycott, but as my Source says: “How come I need a knife to get into my knife?”


11 reviews or comments

neagle Says: June 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I once had to order a dozen scissors for a work project. Not only did each pair of scissors packed in a clam shell the box it came in was four times the size necessary. I am happy I live in a free market society but, it is a shame few companies take notice of an issue like excess packaging unit it becomes cost prohibitive.

Rick Says: June 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Of all the things to sue someone for, I thought that cutting open your hand trying to open these clamshell packages would have been one to kill that design off a long time ago. Somehow this never happened.

Linda Says: June 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I bought some electric power scissors…and needed them to open their own package!! I wound up using a chef’s knife to cut through the packaging. And there are always sharp (and sometimes jagged/pointed) edges, too. I will be glad to see these deplorable things go extinct.

DrewShady Says: June 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I don’t know about others but I have received the all but deadly camshell plastic cut on my hands and arms while trying to get to my newing purchased product. To this day, one of the single most painful experience.

blackwidow Says: June 3, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I have cut myself to the point of almost needing stitches on trying to get things out of clamshell packages and if you buy something you need right away , like while you are in your How many woman carry a pocket knife or something to open it with? I have tried keys, nail files, etc…all seeming to be a very dangerous prodcedure.

Ben Says: June 3, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Lol, its so true. I’ve gotten so used to this type of thing that I have actually developed a routine for getting into these packages. Involving scissors and cutting the packaging just right around the edges in case I need to return, its almost a ritual.

T.Heynes Says: June 4, 2011 at 8:04 am

I’m all for reducing costly packaging but am constantly finding low cost packaging has items stolen from them the main reason clam shells came about in the first place)this cost is being passed back on to us consumers, so do we just go back to the bad old days finding items missing when you get them home or increase the cost again by adding RFI tags to everything..

JP Says: June 5, 2011 at 10:00 am

I can’t stand plastic packaging. They polute the land and oceans, and are incredibly frustrating to open. Less or even no packaging in most cases means more of what we really care about: the product. I don’t want to buy unnecessary packaging. Don’t give it to me.

Gadget News Blog Says: June 6, 2011 at 3:26 am

Now I am using just low-price clamshell package, I dont know maybe after this article I would like to change it new :)

Lyle Stokes Says: June 6, 2011 at 8:08 am

I cut around the edge of this type of packaging(where the front is sealed to the back) and haven’t had ANY problems opening it and know someone hasn’t had gross hands all-over my NEW item. It also protects NEW items from being damaged from shipping unlike fruit at the supermarket which easily gets brusied and needs to be washed before I use it. When I buy something I’ll have longer than one or two days I want it to be NEW and not gross or damaged in ANY way and I can use some intelligence to figure out how to easily open my NEW item without getting cut or worry about its condition. Go to a junk store and shop there if you don’t like the way NEW items are packaged or get a grown-up to open it if you can’t use sharp utensils.

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