We’ve covered the topic of junk mail before in our daily tips (see Tip o’ the Day: War on Junk Mail), but a new website is offering consumers an easy way to get rid of unwanted catalogues. With the holiday season approaching, my mailbox has become inundated with catalogues for every product under the sun. Previously, I have sent individual letters to each company, as well as signed up for services that were supposed to stop the catalogues from coming; however, the effects of all these efforts has worn off, and new ones are arriving daily. Now, Catalog Choice offers a convenient way to decline catalogues from your computer.
Catalog Choice is a free service sponsored by the Ecology Center. Their mission "is to reduce the number of repeat and unsolicited catalog mailings, and to promote the adoption of sustainable industry best practices." The site is simple to use. After creating an account, simply search for catalogue names, enter your customer identification number from the back of the catalogue (if available), then click decline. If the catalogue you wish to decline is not in the database, you can request Catalog Choice to add it, and they will notify you when it is available. I have already declined ten catalogues in a few days; however, it can take up to ten weeks before you stop receiving the declined catalogues. Catalog Choice also offers a "My Choices" page, which allows you to change your mind and start receiving the catalogues again, as well as follow up on catalogues that you are still receiving despite your requests.
Here are some staggering environmental facts from Catalog Choice:
- Over eight million tons of trees are consumed each year in the production of paper catalogs.
- Nearly half of the planet’s original forest cover is gone today. Forests have effectively disappeared in 25 countries, and another 29 have lost more than 90% of their forest cover.
- Deforestation contributes between 20% and 25% of all carbon pollution, causing global climate change.
- More than one billion people living in extreme poverty around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods.
- There are other significant environmental impacts from the catalog cycle. The production and disposal of direct mail alone consumes more energy than three million cars.
- The manufacturing, distribution, collection and disposal of catalogs generates global warming gases as well as air and water pollution. Reducing the number of unwanted catalogs that are mailed will help the environment.
Catalog Choice is simple to use, and the impact is far-reaching. I would much rather not receive so many catalogues, then haul them to the recycling center each week. Visit Catalog Choice today, and see how easy it is to make a small change to help the environment.