There is no "away" 

Trash goes somewhere, right?

EDITOR'S NOTE: All of Ask Renee's columns are moving to NUVO! Here's one from October of 2015.

Find more Ask Renee columns here:

click to enlarge 1024px-blue_rubbish_bins_in_a_circle.jpg


I have always wondered when or if we could educate the service industry that good service is NOT throwing more and more stuff at us hoping that we will get what we want, but having them LISTEN to the customer and give them exactly what they want. That, I think, would make the customer happier, save money, and REDUCE what we consume and/or throw away. I cannot tell you how many times I tell a clerk “no bag” or “no straw”, only to have a straw thrown in a bag and handed to me. Aurgh!

Treehugger Daily News had an article about someone in Marin, CA who has started a campaign called “Thanks for nothing” to do that, but I cannot find anything other than an article at Do you know anything more? Can we get something like this started in the Indy area? 



Hi Phil,

I had never heard of this and I’m so glad you shared it! I’ve now spent some time scrolling through that person’s web site, There Is No Away (, and her Facebook page (her name is Heather, by the way), and I see why you’re inspired. I say, “Go for it!”

Readers, would you prefer to ask for “extras” like utensils, straws, ketchup packets and napkins with to-go orders or do you want them to just be included?

I already order, “Water, no straw,” and carry a reusable utensil set, so I’m completely on board. You can count on me to share your efforts so my readers know which restaurants make the commitment!

Piece out,


(NOTE: This Ask Renee appeared in NUVO on Oct. 7, 2015.)


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Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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