Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cancel Your Catalogs, Help the Environment

A local paper here sends out a weekly catalog featuring products from local merchants. Groceries, home improvement supplies, and electronics sales are advertised. I might page through the thing once, and then it goes into the recycling bin immediately after.

I'm sure some people hold on to these and scan carefully through the weekly deals and then responsibly dispose of them in the recycling bin, but I'd rather my copy wasn't printed at all, personally.

Catalogs for department stores, clothing retailers, household items, and other prodcuts fill mailboxes across America, and a lot of them go directly into the recycling bin -- or worse, the garbage can. According to the NRDC, 19 billion catalogs are mailed in the U.S. every year, and 95% of those are made from virgin forests instead of recycled materials. Producing that many catalogs translates to 53 million trees cut down, 3.6 million tons of paper, enough energy to power 1.2 million homes, 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and 53 billion gallons of water every year. Not only are unwanted catalogs a nuisance, they are destructive to our environment.

The Catalog Canceling Challenge, organized by 4th grade teacher Ted Wells, is an initiative to eliminate the waste of unwanted catalogs. In 9 Steps, schools can join "over 7,800 children in 21 states who have canceled 53,400 unwanted sales catalogs to save trees, water, energy, and our climate."

Another great resource to assist in canceling catalogs is from Catalog Choice, a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to cut down on the waste of unwanted junk mail.

On the back of our local paper's advertisement circulation, the one I might page through once before recycling, is an email address and phone number to reach the company and be removed from the mailing list. It took me five minutes to help preserve Earth's resources, save energy, and reduce waste.

The Catalog Canceling Challenge
Switchboard: Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog - "Today Show boost for Catalog Choice"

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