Catalog Waste Part 2: Making the Catalogs You Receive More Sustainable

TreesLast week, I wrote about the paper waste associated with catalogs in Catalog Waste Part 1: NOW is the Time to Cancel Unwanted Catalogs and Stop Paper Waste. If you’re receiving catalogs that you don’t want, cancel them and seriously curb your paper consumption in one easy step.

But, what if you don’t want to cancel all of the catalogs you receive? Sometimes, there are catalogs that you actually do use and want to continue receiving. Do you have to be content with receiving many, many copies of the catalog when one a year or one a season would suffice? Do you have to be content with the catalog companies using 100% virgin paper?

No, you don’t. Here are some things you can do:

  • Call the companies of the catalogs that you do wish to receive and tell them that you would only like to receive a certain number of mailings a year. Not all companies are set up to do this yet, but more and more companies are offering this option. If a company comes out with an “early fall catalog” and a “fall catalog” and a “late fall catalog” (this is common with clothing companies), most likely the items inside the catalog are the same, but the picture on the cover is different and the pages have been rearranged. You can request that you be sent one catalog a season. Or, if you just want a catalog to shop from for the holidays, request only one mailing a year at the beginning of holiday season.
  • Contact catalog companies and find out what type of paper is used in their catalogs. Tell them that you highly encourage them to use paper with the highest post consumer content that they can. Let them know that this type of practice would make you more likely to support their company. If no one is calling the companies out on their unsustainable practices, they will have no incentive to change them.
  • Ask your catalog companies to stop sending your catalogs wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • Recycle the catalogs you do get. Before you place them in the curbside recycling bin, remove anything that can hamper the recycling process such as perfume samples or stickers.
  • If your community does not offer curbside recycling for catalogs, go to Earth911’s website to find a place near you that will accept catalogs. At the top of their web page is a tool that allows you to put in what you want to recycle and your zip code. You will then be given a list of recycling options.
  • Re-evaluate your catalogs on a regular basis. If you find that you haven’t ordered from one in a year, perhaps you can consider actually canceling it altogether. You can always call and ask for a new one if you really need it or go online to the companies website. Catalog Choice can help you cancel unwanted catalogs quickly and easily.

If you take these steps with the catalogs that you do receive then you’ll know that you are being a responsible about your catalog choices, you’ll be cutting out a lot of waste, and you’ll be saving a few trees.

Image courtest of Wikimedia Commons

Read More:

Paper: It’s Not Just from Trees Anymore!

Eco-Libris: ‘Paper Trails: From Trees to Trash – The True Cost of Paper

One comment
  1. Chuck Teller


    Great post. Thanks for mentioning our service. We are enhancing our service to allow merchants to offer mail frequency options like you described. Look for this rolling out in October. Should be great.


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