Catalog Waste Part 1: NOW is the time to Cancel Unwanted Catalogs and Stop Paper Waste
Actually, the best time to cancel unwanted catalogs was probably about two months ago before the first waves of attack came, but now is the time to stop future attacks. What attacks am I talking about? The dreaded onslaught of holiday catalogs. The first should arrive right after Labor Day if they haven’t started coming already. Catalog companies will continue to send several copies of the same catalog (trying to trick consumers with a different cover) until a few days before Christmas.
Then there will be, perhaps, a two week lull. After that will come the post-holiday sale catalogs. Because nobody gets everything they want for the holidays, catalog companies are kind enough to slash prices so that you can buy yourself what you really wanted. How do I know all this?
I’m a former catalog junkie.
That was before my month long campaign to rid my house of catalogs, and unfortunately, it was before Catalog Choice.
According to a 2002 report issued by the Environmental Defense, in the United States about 17 billion catalogs are sent out each year. That’s about 3.6 million tons of paper. Eight years after this report was issued, I can only assume that the statistics are even higher.
Here are some other statistics. Over 95% of American catalogs are printed on virgin paper. If all of those catalogs contained just 10% post consumer recycled paper, which has no significant cost or quality differences from virgin paper, 1 trillion 702 billion pounds of wood could be saved annually. That translates into saving a whole heck of a lot of trees that could be absorbing carbon dioxide.
Getting rid of unwanted catalogs is easy, and it’s a way to put a big dent in your personal consumption of paper. There are several ways to stop getting catalogs. You can, of course, call each catalog company one by one, as I did, being transfered and put on hold. Or you can use an online service, such as Catalog Choice, that will do the work for you.
Catalog Choice is a free service that offers those who receive catalogs the ability to get off of individual catalog mailing lists. After signing up for an account, users can type in the names of the catalogs that they don’t want and request that they be canceled. If a catalog is not in their system, users can request that it be put in their system.
Although I did my first round of canceling by phone, I have since used Catalog Choice for new catalogs and it’s simple and straight forward. According to their website their are 989,466 registered users who have opted out of 13,050,916 catalogs. That is a whole heck of a lot of trees saved.
Why not add to those positive statistics. Take some time, today, and cancel some catalogs. Now is the right time to do it because the last months of the year are when the most catalogs are sent. There’s an added benefit to canceling catalogs. If you don’t get a catalog, you won’t know the items in the catalog exist. It just may help you buy less stuff, too, furthering the good to the environment and your wallet.
I realize that there are some catalogs you might not want to cancel. So on Monday, in part 2, I’ll discuss how to help make the catalogs you do receive more a little more earth friendly.
Image from Catalog Choice website