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 catalogs that clog my mailbox and pile up day after day.
Turns 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 catalogs from companies like LL Bean, Land’s End, Victoria’s Secret, Restoration Hardware and a whole host of other companies well (frankly, for me, it was eighty-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! 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 gasses 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, the 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 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, and Catalog Choice does the rest.
Let me know how many catalogs you get rid of!