Even in this digital age, we deal with tons of unwanted paper mail
Sure, email spam is annoying. With me getting over 200 unsolicited, unwanted messages a day, checking my email can be a nightmare. Luckily 99% of these get caught by my spam filter and 99% of what is caught, I simply delete. Since very little ‘energy’ is needed to create, send or ultimately dispose of these messages, it’s not that big of a deal. On the other hand, take all of those damned paper catalogs that the postal service brings each month. Most of which I never asked for.
These are more than just a nuisance that fills my mailbox to the brim, causing me to rip and tear and destroy more important mail in the name of extraction. They are an environmental nightmare. Yes, sure they’re paper and can be recycled. But we all know that many people out there do not recycle (shame on you, by the way). And yes I have been known to chop these up and use them for artistic endeavors (take a look at my former band’s website for example). Think of the energy wasted in creating these things. The ink, the electricity to run the presses, the fuel to power the trucks, trees (all those trees) and so on.
The sad part is that in this digital age the need for a paper catalog is nearly nil. I’ve already told the phone and cable companies to knock it off with the paper bills. And several of the catalogs that I enjoy receiving are now sitting comfortably in my email inbox, basking in paperless glory. You may ask, “What about those catalogs we didn’t ask for?” Well I’m happy to say that, while watching Bill Moyers last night on PBS, I discovered a new service called Catalog Choice. It’s a totally free service that allows you to log on, enter the names of the catalogs you no longer wish to receive and presto … that’s it.
Yes you could just contact each company individually, but why would you want to? It’s time consuming and often takes several tries with each company for the changes to go into effect. By using a service like Catalog Choice, you free yourself of that burden. Their sole mission is to reduce catalog mailings and promote the adoption of industry best practices. The free service lets consumers indicate which catalogs they no longer wish to receive. Businesses can receive a list of consumers who no longer want their catalogs, thereby saving money and resources.
More than just a consumer advocacy group, Catalog Choice has its environmental ties as a sponsored project of the Ecology Center. It is endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and funded by the Overbrook Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, and the Kendeda Fund.