Image credit: csb13
Sometimes we can't help but order something online, especially when we can't get something we need in a nearby bricks-and-mortar store. But rather than encourage excessive waste and nonbiodegradable, polluting packing materials such as styrofoam peanuts—plus your inclusion on myriad catalog and junk-mail lists—you can make yourself heard by including a note with your online order. (This way, you can also tell if the company actually pays attention to its customers, and, thus, if it's deserving of your moola.)Here's this writer's standard patter—feel free to gank or edit for your purposes:
Please use minimal and recycled packaging. Kindly do not include any catalogs, inserts, flyers, shrinkwrap, bubble wrap, packing confetti, plastic "pillows," or styrofoam peanuts. (You can use crumpled up newspaper if padding is necessary.) Please do not include me in any mailing lists or exchange lists you may have. Thank you!
Similarly, my husband and I have trained our Chinese takeout place not to bring us the ancillary paper napkins, plastic flatware, fortune cookies, and little baggies of sauce. Sure, it took several phone calls of stressing "Just the food! Just the food!" over the phone for our takeout guy to cart our meals to us in a box, which he takes back—no plastic or paper bags with stapled menus, thanks!—but now we have it worked out to a science. (We also make an effort to dine at the actual restaurant when we're not dead-dog-tired, so we don't even have to deal with leftover plastic containers.)
See also: :: Eco-To-Go: Reducing Take-out Waste