Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step


January 2, 2006

Stop Junk Mail (Ok, Slow It Down)

Category: Household,Take Actions,Tips – Tom Harrison – 10:54 pm

Credit again to Ideal Bite: stop junk mail! I am sure the statistics on junk mail are staggering — I know that after Thanksgiving our poor letter carrier (f.k.a “postman”) was staggering around delivering sometimes twenty or thirty catalogs to our door in a day … and down the street, and across town and over the entire country.

The horror of junk mail is far from limited to the holidays (f.k.a “Christmas”). Every day when I bring in the mail, I rifle through the scores of catalogs and flyers and cards, and letters and solicitations just to find the things I need. Easily 90% of every day’s mail goes directly into the recycle bag. Think of the cost of killing those trees, printing, transporting, and then picking up, recycling and everything. Don’t feel good just because they are getting recycled — it’s better than the landfill, but not much.

The link on this post is to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), whom I should not like to blame. Direct mail has been used for years, and it was a fine way to communicate. To their credit DMA has provided a way to get your name automatically removed from members’ lists. But it makes me a little annoyed that they charge $5 for this service.

So, being the cheapo that I am, I tried contacting a couple of the companies directly today. Eddie Bauer was very good: they had a place on their website where you could request removal. Others I called their 800 numbers. Ironically, I will have to do the rest as they come in, since we throw away the catalogs as soon as they arrive and I forget their names. I may still break down and give the DMA their five bucks; I am not sure how I would go about getting rid of credit card solicitations and other “regular” junk mail — perhaps they would help.

I’ll count this month, but I’ll bet we get 50 to 100 catalogs. When they are in the frenzy of various important buying holidays like Christmas and Flag Day, they frequently send multiple copies of the catalog.

Where’s the outrage about this? Everyone is outraged about email spam, but honestly, if it were legitimate as most of the catalogs we get are, it’s a much better way to target customers. Amazon.com does a great job with their emails. Doesn’t this have to be the way of the future? We passed national laws banning unsolicited phone and email, but what about this incredible waste of paper?

So take action and call the catalog companies and let them know why!

1 Comment

  1. […] we didn’t ask for (which is almost all of them). We tried doing this on our own, but it was a lot of effort and needed regular attention. Then we signed up for GreenDimes to stop junk mail. It works […]

    Pingback by Junk Mail: Direct Marketing Association vs. Do Not Mail registry | Five Percent: Conserve a Little Energy — February 1, 2008 @ 10:36 am

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