There’s a kind of plastic packaging that I have injured myself with several times. This is intentional on the part of marketers — when packaged for retail, shoplifting is much harder.
But I buy a lot of stuff online. (In fact, I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I enter almost any big-box retail store. They never have what I need, they try to sell me junk I don’t need, and I occasionally settle for an inferior alternative to what I want out of frustration.) Why can’t the five percent of items needed for retail display be packaged in this way, and the rest be packaged efficiently?
This packaging is expensive in many, many ways. First, it is intentionally bulky, especially for small items. A USB flash memory stick came in a package as big as a large textbook, and that in turn was put in a box of (larger) standard dimensions. A big waste just for something that could fit in an envelope.
Seth Godin has a wonderful blog and a great post on the perils and inefficiencies of excessive packaging. I am only putting my extra-green spin on what he says better.