A few years ago, when I was feeling overwhelmed by the stacks and stacks of unwanted catalogs that arrived in the mail, a friend recommended that I try www.catalogchoice.org.
Like most people, I had ordered a few things from catalogs, which opened a floodgate of junk mail. Each year, the stack grew taller, especially as the December holidays approached. I hated to think of the resources that were being wasted. Within 4 weeks of signing up with Catalog Choice, there was a noticeable drop in mailings, which has continued. If you aren't already familiar with Catalog Choice, I strongly recommend that you check it out.
The steps are easy: first, assemble that huge stack of unwanted catalogs, then sign up at www.catalogchoice.org and begin declining. The website makes it easy to search by vendor name. You'll be asked to provide your name and address, as well as a bit of information from each catalog's mailing label. Even if the label doesn't contain requested information such as customer number and source code, you can decline it.
That's your part of the process. Catalog Choice then contacts the vendor and requests that the mailings stop. Unfortunately, a few companies ("Woman Within," you know who you are) ignore your request, but the majority honor it fairly quickly. Be aware that if you place another order with vendors who sell their customer lists, a new flood of catalogs may result. However, renewing your requests through Catalog Choice is easy.
There is no cost for Catalog Choice's service, but they do appreciate donations.
After you've signed up and declined catalogs, the website provides data on how your choices have benefited the environment. Environmental impacts are calculated using the EDF Paper Calculator.
Here's an example from my latest visit to the website:
TOGETHER WE'VE SAVED 634,601 fully grown trees
YOU SAVED 6
TOGETHER WE'VE SAVED 264,283,734 lbs. of greenhouse gas
YOU SAVED 2,129
TOGETHER WE'VE SAVED 636,485,603 lbs. of solid waste
YOU SAVED 5,126
TOGETHER WE'VE SAVED 93,685,243 gallons of water
YOU SAVED 755
Here's some additional information from Catalog Choice's website:
"Catalog Choice's mission is to help people reduce unwanted mail, save natural resources, reduce clutter and take control of their mailbox. Since launching our free service in 2007, Catalog Choice has grown to serve more than a million people and thousands of companies.
We've expanded our service to help people control not only what arrives in their mailbox, but also to protect their privacy and personal information. Many companies work with us to make the opt-out process efficient and effective. Participating companies include catalog mailers, nonprofits, phone book publishers and other advertisers who use Catalog Choice to demonstrate best marketing practices and to honor consumer choice and privacy.
Catalog Choice is a nonprofit corporation based in Berkeley, California. We have a small, dedicated team and we use technology to maximize what we can accomplish for our members and participating companies.
We have worked in collaboration with The Ecology Center, National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council. We are funded through tax-deductible donations, grants from the Overbrook Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, Kendeda Fund, Goldman Fund, Weeden Foundation, Mead Foundation, and Johnson Family Foundation. We supplement this funding with services for members and companies that help further reduce unwanted mail, protect personal information and certify best practices in the direct marketing industry."