Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Junk mail, other than the annoyance, what's the problem? Lots...

If you're like me you love getting mail. The holiday cards, the thank you notes, etc. There is little more exciting than the sound of opening an envelope and reading a real piece of mail. But what I hate is the junk mail. Specifically the catalogues that clog my mail box and pile up day after day.

Well it turn out that more than 19 billion catalogs are mailed to households in the United States every year. That's 63 catalogs for each man, woman and child in the US. Well I wanted to put an end to this flood of useless mail.  I knew my family was getting a ton of these unwanted, unrequested catalogues from companies like LL Bean, Lands End, Victoria Secrets, Restoration Hardware and a whole host of other companies, well actually for me, eight-two companies. Eighty-two, that is how many different companies have sent me a mail-order catalogs in the past 2 months.  That is more than one catalog a day not including repeat catalogs! Wow that's a lot of junk mail.  

How do I know it is eighty-two?  About two months ago I began using Catalog Choice, a free service that contacts mail-order companies for you to remove your name from their mailing lists.  I knew I received a lot of catalogs but I had no idea that is was SOOO many.  

Using the Environmental Defense Fund paper calculator, Catalog Choice calculated the impact of all these catalogs on our environment. More than 53 million trees are need make 3.6 million tons of paper and 38 trillion BTUs of energy are need to produce the paper (enough to power 1.2 million households per year.) This process emits 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide equal to annual emissions of 2 million cars -- significantly contributing to global warming. More that 53 billion gallons of wastewater is discharged to create the catalog paper -- enough to fill 81,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  This doesn't even take into account the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the US Post Office from delivering these useless pieces of paper.

Since its launch last year, almost one million people have joined Catalog Choice and already opted out of 13,117,365 catalogs.  More than 1,000 companies have joined in to help people opt out of getting their catalogs but there are a few that have decided not to participate.  Out of the 82 companies on my list just Garnet Hill, Metropolitan Museum of Arts Store, Nordstroms, and Title Nine are not participating.  To date, 22 companies on my list have confirmed the opt out and Catalog Choice is still working on the rest.  

Catalog Choice is not the only service out there. For a fee, GreenDimes and 41pounds.org will get rid of unwanted junk mail and catalogs. OptOutPrescreen.com will stop unwanted credit or insurance offers. Even the Direct Marketing Association offers ways to remove your name and address for mailing list.  

It is so easy you have to try.  All you have to do is input them in and Catalog Choice does the rest.

Let me know how many catalogs you get rid of!


Leah Ingram said...

I signed up with Catalog Choice last year, which I wrote about on my blog The Lean Green Family. And while not every catalog disappeared, now that I think about it, I am getting fewer in the mail. Some vendors, though, seem to refuse to accept my "unsubscribe" request (are you listening Pottery Barn?).


Iris said...

I love this article, since I've questioned myself all the time on how to get rid of this problem. I never knew there even was the option. Now I will def contact them and hope for the best. Thanks sweetie, I see you soon!


Rene Bross said...

This is FANTASTIC information!! Thank you so much for posting it with the links. I was just thinking yesterday, I really need to get on one of those opt-out junk mail list.

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