Junk mail hurts the environment

A duh statement, right?

Junk mailFor most of us, we have emails that do a pretty good job of controlling spam. (Let me pimp gmail here for a second — they do a GREAT job of controlling spam.) But every time I receive a bunch of crap in my snail mail, I always wonder whether these companies pay attention to the concerns about the environment and lessening waste. Trust me, I’m no treehugger but I do think that we should be good stewards of the paper we use. (You’re talking to the girl that writes on the back and front of pages in notebooks. It irks me when people only write on one side of a page.)

I don’t mind getting circulars; I use them. I wouldn’t say to completely eliminate them either since there are likely older people who don’t use the Internet, but there should be a way to opt out of junk mail and subscribe electronically.

Most banks provide the option of receiving bank statements wirelessly. I subscribe to electronic statements for the majority of the banks I use. But then there are all these “special” bank offers that I’ve been pre-approved for. Is there a number I can call and say, “Please stop sending me this crap! I am not responding to any bank offers via postal mail, I don’t care how good it is”?

Then I get the stupid roofer, mason, siding, and renovation advertisements. I live in an apartment, not a home. Get real.

The floating “Subscribe to Netflix today!” ads. Guess what Netflix? You get our money every month already. Stop trying to recruit your own customers.

Victoria's SecretVictoria’s Secret catalogs. OK, I’ll admit I love getting VS catalogs. Beyond their undergarments, they also sell a few modest outfits (pants, button-down shirts, and tank tops) and (IMO) to-die-for shoes. VS catalogs are pretty long and detailed so I can understand why they’re mailed. But my husband and I have — at one point — received 4-5 catalogs one week, some of them duplicates. Many times I’ve gotten up to 3 catalogs a week. These catalogs don’t vary much in the products they contain except that they’re all assigned different catalog codes. A catalog every now and then is no big deal. When you bombard me during a “big sale” several days a week for a few weeks, then I start to get annoyed. If the government does this, we call it “wasteful spending”; I think the same of VS. How much money could they save themselves by sending less catalogs?

My biggest irritation is the referrals to other store catalogs I’ve never heard of, don’t care about, and will never buy from. Here’s some TMI for a hot minute: I’ve ordered from VS, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Activa Sports, and Road Runner Sports. These four catalogs suddenly decided that perhaps I’d like Venus, J. Jill, Coldwater Creek, Athleta, Boston Proper and a whole other host of catalogs that I don’t even know the names of because they simply find a new home in the trash. In a random catalog mailing, I received Alloy — a catalog that I used to get, oh say, 10-15 years ago. Come on, seriously? Something’s wrong if a 15-year-old is getting Alloy and VS.

To be introspective for a moment: Do I waste paper? Well, I certainly do; I’m not perfect but I try to minimize my use of paper if I deem it unnecessary. If I have a post-it note and have to scribble two unrelated things, I use a line to divide them instead of using separate post-its. (Unless the post-it is 1.5 x 2 or something like that. I don’t write small enough.)

treeI’m not the best at saving the environment. In fact, I probably hurt the environment in more ways than I help it. But I wish environmental groups would actually take notice of this blatant littering of the environment and do something about it. (Btw, I have tried GreenDimes when it was free and it didn’t do much.)

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4 Comments

  1. Peter (Pyrs) said,

    February 21, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I try not to be a paper waster either. And almost everytime I bring in the mail, over half of it goes directly into my recycling bag. I don’t even tend to look at supermarket circulars because I know where I like to shop and there are always sales on the categories of food I need that I see as I go down the aisles. And my store card gets me the good prices without coupons, which I never clip nor even look for.
    I wonder if anyone is doing studies as to what percentage of people actually take the time to look at this stuff anymore in this overloaded, overstimulated, interconnected, time-deprived, information-fatigued society?

  2. February 22, 2009 at 6:12 am

    I know people who shred junk mail and then make paper and postcards and such of it =)
    Here it is a bigger problem since we don’t have any recycling services in the country..
    and I also hate receiving emails sent by govrernment services and election mail booklets to my family members who passed away about 10 years ago ooh…

  3. Chuck said,

    February 22, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Great post! You should try Catalog Choice (http://catalogchoice.org). We develop formal relationships with the mailers to get them to either offer you the option of getting fewer catalogs or none at all. Without the commitment of the mailer to honor your request, there is no way to stop all the unwanted mail.

  4. Ana said,

    February 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    People are feeling so lost in this world lately that I believe that these important issues are left behind not because they don’t care but for having to strive hard to achieve little things.
    I don’t know. I believe the a huge change should be done.


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