How To Open Annoying Plastic Clamshell Packaging

The Holidays are a time for gift giving and receiving. Lots and lots of new gadgets will make their way in to the hands of children both old and young over the next week. Unfortunately, many of those gadgets will come packaged in horrible, eco-hostile and impossible to open clamshell packaging.

Thousands of products now come in this packaging, since it’s relatively inexpensive, allows the consumer to see the product, and makes the product bulky enough that it’s difficult to shoplift.  And thousands of people will end up in the ER this holiday season after injuring themselves either on the sharp, stiff edge of the packaging as they attempt to pry it open, or with the unsafe implement they’ve engaged to try to get through the plastic armor. This post was, in fact, inspired by the large cut in the the back of my hand, thanks to my efforts towards opening a new hard drive with a large kitchen knife.

So, how to handle the horrid packaging both easily and safely? Always inspect the packaging closely; there may be pre-cut perforations around the edges or other ways to easily open the package.  If you do attempt to carefully open it using heavy duty scissors or box cutters, ensure you inspect the packaging first – you don’t want to harm any of the contents, and you also don’t want to harm yourself.

There are also several gadgets on the market, if you can find them. The Open It! appears to be a combination set of garden shears and box cutters, but as the video attests, it seems to handle clamshells pretty well.  Mind you, if you have garden shears around, that might be more convenient. And less expensive.  Another easy, inexpensive alternative? Your handy dandy kitchen can opener.

Your best bet, above all, is to avoid products wrapped in clamshell packaging altogether — it’s easier on both the environment and your blood pressure. If you do end up with some of this stress-inducing stuff under your tree, make sure you recycle it afterwards — and send your feedback to the company whose product you’ve got, to let them know how user-hostile their packaging is. Maybe they’ll listen for the next holiday season.


Related Stories:

Cut the “Stuff” – Giving Gifts That Mean Something More

Uh Oh! The Dirty Truth About Santa’s Carbon Footprint

Takeout Without: Leave Disposable Packaging Behind

Photo Credit: Miss_Rogue on Flickr


Kathy P.
kathy P5 years ago

Very irritating and annoying to open. This type of packaging is unnecessary.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G6 years ago

Don't buy stuff in this packaging.

Jane R.
Jane R6 years ago

I urge everyone who hates this type of packaging to write or call the mfg. of the product and complain. Maybe together we can get the message across to them that we won't buy products in these packages.

Zee Kallah
Past Member 6 years ago

Little plastic packages?

I stab the dang things!

Past Member
Past Member 6 years ago

Also, if you should want to return the merchandise, they expect the packaging to be in reasonably good condition with the merchandise inside it.

june t.
june t6 years ago

I hate the stuff. It is hard to avoid, as more and more things are packed in it. I put it in recycling even though I'm not sure if it should go there. It's really awful stuff for people with arthritis or similar conditions. The way the packaging is shaped almost guarantees you will cut yourself. Maybe they conspire with the bandaid companies....

Barbara DeFratis
Barbara DeFratis6 years ago

Yes, I agree. I do not like things being over package, either. Unfortunately,it is a necessary evil. The over packaging acts to deter shop-lifting.

Myriam G.
Myriam G6 years ago

To me, over-packaging is the #1 domestic waste problem.

Kathy Lentz
Kathlene Lentz6 years ago

I had thought that this type of packaging was going to be banned, but that law never seemed to appear. I hate clam shell packaging and avoid buying anything in one if at all possible. What's the use of buying a tool in a package that you need that tool just to open? Maddening!

Grace Adams
Grace Adams6 years ago

Most American products are over-packaged.