SEATTLE (AP) -- One of the worst things about getting a new gadget or toy is trying to free it from the hard plastic casing that houses many products. To reduce those battles, Amazon.com Inc. said Monday it is working with manufacturers to make the products it sells easier to open and more environmentally friendly.
Initially, the online retailer is altering the packaging in the U.S. on 19 top-selling products from a variety of manufacturers -- among them toy maker Mattel Inc., software maker Microsoft Corp. and flash memory card maker Transcend Information Inc. Starting in 2009, Amazon's effort will include its international sites as well.
The online retailer said that it is looking at eliminating plastic "clamshell" cases and plastic-covered wire ties that hold items such as toys in place. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said his goal is to get all things sold through the site into "frustration-free packaging."
Amazon also said it would work to use less packaging material.
For example, small items like memory cards tend to be packaged first in clamshell cases to cut down on shoplifting, and then in cardboard boxes to be sent to buyers. Under Amazon's new plan, memory cards from Transcend can be sent in recyclable cardboard envelopes, and the retailer is trying to reduce the envelope size, too.
"We think there's benefits to this across the board for the customers, the manufacturers and the environment," said Patty Smith, an Amazon spokeswoman.