No More Junk

I don’t know anyone who likes junk mail. I’ve complained about it my entire life. I mean, how many times have you picked up the mail and proclaimed, “Just junk!” But all of those catalogs and credit card promotions are not just junk–they are destroying natural resources that we don’t have to spare.  The statistics are staggering. According to

  • The average adult spends 70 hours a year dealing with junk mail.
  • More than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail.
  • Junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 2.8 million cars.
  • Junk mail wastes 28 billion gallons of water annually

It makes me a more than a little sick to my stomach. I don’t know why I waited until now to finally put an end to the junk, but Earth Day gave me that extra nudge.

Since I already call credit card companies on a regular basis to ask that they remove my husband and me from their bulk mailing list, catalogs are our biggest problem. Some of them are unsolicited, but most we had requested from stores we frequently shop. However, rarely do I catalog shop. Catalogs have always stressed me out because they are one more thing to read, and recycle, among the sea of newspapers and magazines we subscribe to. I had read about Catalog Choice, a service that facilitates the removal of individual’s names from unsolicited mailing lists, and decided to give it a try because it was free (not all are), doesn’t share personal information, and has the support of many major merchants who understand the benefits of reduced catalog production (namely cost, but I’m hoping a few care about the environment, too). The entire process took about 30 minutes. I created an account with basic personal information – name, mailing address – and immediately got to work selecting the catalogs I no longer wish to receive. Most of them, like Pottery Barn, were on Catalog Choice’s list. I simply selected the catalog and reason for opting out. In every case, I chose “Because I care about the environment” as my reason, to reinforces that it’s the waste I dislike, not the retailer. In the end, I opted out of 16 catalogs. I couldn’t give up J.Crew. Catalog Choice has since contacted the merchants to remove my name from their mailing list. In a few weeks I should stop receiving the catalogs. I feel lighter already. Now if I could just give up bottled water . . .