Friday, June 3, 2011

Down with Plastic Clam Shells!!!

I just read the most hopeful article in the New York Times. Apparently high oil prices are finally getting product manufacturers to rethink those horrific plastic clam shell packages.

Woo Hoo!!! I have long held out hope that rising oil prices would finally force some changes upon the corporatocracy and it appears that the dollar is mightier than the plastic clam shell after all!

The article says that many of the ubiquitous and environmentally disastrous plastic clam shells are being phased out in favor of cardboard, or paper packaging. Some LED light bulbs are even gonna start coming in cardboard boxes so maybe I'll actually be able to buy one! I've written several somewhat pointed emails to the manufacturers of these bulbs pointing out the contradiction of marketing a product designed to be good for the environment in an over-sized, non-recyclable plastic box.  There was great rejoicing!!

The news isn't all good though. Some manufacturers are replacing them with a product known as Natralock, which is basically a paperboard backing laminated with plastic with a clear plastic blister or bubble where the product itself sits.

The company claims that its product is largely recyclable saying "All you have to do is separate the thermoform blister from the Natralock paperboard and toss the paperboard into your recycling bin." Hmmm... not sure how easy it will be to remove plastic laminate from paperboard, so that's a claim that I'll believe when I see it. But any way you slice it, it's less plastic than the clam shell which is a good thing.

So next time you fill up your tank, swallow hard and then give thanks for the higher prices!


  1. Amen! You know something's wrong when you need a special gadget just to get a package open!
    BTW, love the graphics.

  2. I'm enjoying your new illustrated blogs. Great news about the clamshells. I hate those things because I can't get them open and they're totally unnecessary to start with. I need to get gas tomorrow, but while I'm cringing at the bill, I'll remember that good things come of higher gas prices.

  3. I'm glad you both like the graphics... I fear it's mostly a way of filling space when I don't have anything earth shattering to say!

  4. I hate those packages, too! I once saw in a store a tool designed specifically for opening those packages...which was itself packaged in one of them....

  5. The only way that things are going to change in a significant way is if manufacturers change their packaging - this is indeed very good news. I've on occasion sent what I felt was ridiculous overpackaging back to the source, but that's just a drop in the bucket. Those little drops may have meant something, but as you note, it's the rise in oil prices that is really hurting these guys. Thanks for the update!

  6. Becca - I am totally laughing my ass off at the idea of a tool designed to open clam shells being packaged in a clam shell! Someone in their marketing department was either asleep at the wheel or has a seriously twisted sense of humor!

    df - I totally LOVE the idea of sending the overpackaging back to the company! It reminds me of the story of the guy who got pissed off that telemarketers were calling him all the time, so he started placing hourly calls to the corporate headquarters of one of the worst offenders trying to sell them his used Commodore computer. Turnabout is fair play in my book!


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