Tip: Minimal Packaging Please

July 23, 2007 at 10:00 am 16 comments


So I just discovered The Worsted Witch blog, and digging through the archives found this really great suggestion I just had to share here. If you shop online but are frustrated by all the unnecessary bubble wrap and evil Styrofoam peanuts they stuff with your package and almost certain flood of catalogs and junk mail to follow, here is what to do. When placing your online order, you can leave a note saying something like this:


“Please use minimal and recycled packaging. Kindly do not include any catalogs, inserts, fliers, shrink-wrap, 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! “

Thank you to The Worsted Witch for the original wording. I only wish I had used this when I was ordering my Diva Cup and my Reusable Bags stuff. Duh. But now I know better.

No guarantees they will actually listen to you, but there is always hope. And there is also a better chance that they will eventually respond to popular demand of eco-friendlier packaging.

If you still end up with foam peanuts lying around, Treehugger for example has suggested that they can be brought back to packaging stores. If there is a mailing service in your area, you could also take them the packing boxes, as well as the peanuts and bubble wrap. And if you are crafty, you can always use the peanuts to make a bean bag. Although I imagine that would be quite a stash of peanuts you would need 😉

Photo by Miskan on Flickr.

Entry filed under: consumption, Diva cup, environment, plastic, recycling, reuse, shopping, waste.

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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michelle Verges  |  July 24, 2007 at 12:00 am

    Brilliant suggestion! Thanks to you and Worsted Witch for helping to spread the word about reducing packaging material. I’m certainly inspired to share this tip with others, too.

    By the way, I noticed a few similarities in our shopping purchases–I too have ordered a Diva Cup and goods from reusablebags.com. I’m sure this is hardly a coincidence!


  • 2. Emily  |  July 24, 2007 at 8:34 am

    I wonder if they’ll listen. I can’t even get my husband to listen sometimes.

  • 3. Aimee  |  July 24, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    I just ordered some shopping bags from Reusable Bags and added your statement to the “special instructions” box. Hopefully it works – thanks for the great idea and thanks to Worsted Witch for the wording!

  • 4. activistmommy  |  July 24, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Great suggestion, thanks! I usually keep all the extra packaging and reuse it when I mail off things like presents. I always have far too much. I’ll have to remember to do this in the future.

  • 5. Alina  |  July 24, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Michelle, I was soooo tempted to say that great minds think alike. But I won’t 😀

    Emily, even if they don’t, it’s always good to let our consumer voice be heard.

    Aimee, my order came in a box bigger than it needed to be, and it was stuffed with paper. The Kleen Kanteen was wrapped in bubble wrap, which I didn’t see the point of. So now that you know what’s normal, let us know if it makes any difference or not. I’m curious to see now.

    Activistmommy, yeah that’s always the problem, no matter how much you reuse it, you never seem to get to the bottom of the pile!

  • 6. Michelle Verges  |  July 24, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Alina, I know what you mean…the last thing we need is to be jinxed!

    So I purchased an organic shirt from fullmoonfamily and was eagerly awaiting to include my special note in the order. Well, no such luck; the option wasn’t available to me. But I’m hopeful; this is an eco-friendly shop, after all!


  • 7. Michelle Verges  |  July 24, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Oh dear, I somehow jinxed myself anyway!

    Here’s the link to Mountains of the Moon, which is an online shop that sells eco-friendly goods: http://www.fullmoonfamily.com.

    I’ll stop playing with those html codes for now!


  • 8. Alina  |  July 24, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Hehe, ok, don’t worry, I think I fixed it. Oh wow, that store actually has stuff that doesn’t suck! That’s such an accomplishment! Normally eco-friendly fashion is so… meeh!

  • 9. Michelle Verges  |  July 25, 2007 at 6:26 pm


    Thanks for fixing my comment! :0)

    I know, I was also surprised when I went to their site. I guess I was expecting tasteless clothing. Hmm, this attitude reminds me of the negative connotation associated with environmentalism…Good grief, I’d like to think I’m not the kind of person who would have a negative stereotype concerning eco-friendly fashion!


  • 10. jim  |  July 27, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Like activistmommy I usually keep the packaging and popcorn, but now I have a stack of the stuff sitting in my garage as I send less out than is sent in, and giftmas only comes once a year. As I was reading the post, though, I wondered if dumping popcorn in the attic, maybe in spots where there is thinner insulation, would be at all helpful? Even if the effect is minimal, it’s GOT to be better than dumping it in a landfill, right?

  • 11. Alina  |  July 29, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Jim, wow, just how much of that stuff DO you have? 🙂 Sounds like a good idea, at least in theory. But maybe the more efficient way to reuse it is to bring it to a mailing company.

  • 12. Aimee  |  July 29, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    My Reusable Bags came yesterday and the box was a little big, but not huge. It had only paper in it. Of course, a sturdy envelope would have done the trick, but at least it wasn’t plastic stuffed…

  • 13. ioman01  |  July 29, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. An excellent idea. Now I have to try it out and see how many of the online order firms actually respect my expressed wishes. Maybe someone should start up a list of who offers minimal and/or “green” packaging options, as well as those that respect such notes?

    Alina, depois de tanto tempo em Portugal, suspeito que você fala muito bem o português?

  • 14. Alina  |  July 30, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Aimee, I guess they didn’t really change anything because it sounds like the same as what I got. But even so, I’m sure they not the worst out there.

    ioman, even if they don’t respect the notes, it’s still good to make those companies know what we, the consumer, want. So they can change their policies accordingly.

    E sim, portugues, e’ a minha lingua natal 😉

  • 15. ioman01  |  August 2, 2007 at 3:53 am

    ótimo! Ainda que não é minha lingua natal, me encanta o portugués.
    You make a good point. Hopefully if enough people ask for it, the companies will eventually respond. Pelo menos, isso é a esperança…

  • 16. Karen  |  August 7, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    I fully agree with the comments made about excess and inappropriate packaging. Our mail order company (Wiggly Wigglers) uses recycled filler for the boxes ie shredded paper and try to use as little packaging as possible. We are also about to start a scheme for Ecover refills whereby customers send back their empties to be re-filled. The empties will be recycled by using a return label stuck directly onto the container, so no additional packaging at all.

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July 2007

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