Say Goodbye to Those Annoying ‘Clamshell’ Plastic Containers

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Well, this is a slight upside to the bad economy. The rising petroleum price could get rid of a minor health hazard: the clamshell or oyster packaging — those plastic covers that are just impossible to take apart.

The New York Times reports that in the quest to reduce cost in this tough economy, retailers are turning away from the hard plastic encasing, which beside being an environmental hazard, has been as source of more immediate pain and frustration.

(LIST: The Perils of Plastic)

If you have the experience of trying to yank open a hard plastic packaging and coming out with a feeling that you just killed an animal (that is, if the plastic didn’t get your fingers first), you are not alone. Every year in the U.S., about six thousand casualties of this so-called “wrap rage” end up in emergency rooms.

Some enraged consumers took efforts to battle this diabolic packaging. WikiHow guides you through various methods: the can opener method, the knife, box cutter or scissors method, and the aviation snips (a highly specialized tool for cutting thin metal) method.

Consumer Reports came up with Oyster Awards Hall of Shame in 2007 for the most frustrating-to-open products: “Consumers shared that they have used almost any implement at hand—pliers, kitchen shears, bolt cutters, military-issue can openers, hacksaws, files, teeth, and fingernails—to get the job done.” The honors went to Oral-B Sonic Complete Toothbrush Kit and Bratz Sisterz dolls.

Some chose artistic battle. In the song called “Toy Packaging,” Sara Groves sings of a mother who ends up blowing up a hard-to-open package with dynamite.


One day, it might all be history. Thanks to the soaring oil prices, more and more hard plastic is being replaced by cardboard packaging, which is safer for the environment — and our fingers.

(MORE: Packaging Rage: How Amazon Is Persuading Retailers to Go Cardboard)