Ten Ways to Control Catalog Clutter


 During the post-holiday season, retail catalogs begin swamping mailboxes as the stores where you shopped add your address to their mailing lists.  The huge amount of paper and ink used to produce catalogs is an environmental no-no. Producing all these catalogs is a big waste of energy and resources, especially because most of the products and information can be found on the retailers' websites.  

Put a stop to the catalog deluge before it begins by refusing to provide your address or phone number when you shop.  If you place your order by phone, tell the operator to keep your name off the company's mailed catalog lists. (image source)

If catalogs are still piling up at your house, here's how you can stem the paper tide:

1) Call the 1-800 number provided in the catalog and ask the operator to remove your name from the company's lists.

2) Sign up for free with Catalogchoice.org and cancel catalogs you no longer wish to receive.

3) Pay $19.95 and Stopthejunkmail.com will let you choose which catalogs you wish to keep; the group will contact the others repeatedly until they have removed you from their lists. 

4) Stop 85-90% of all unwanted catalogs and junk mail for 5 years for $41 at 41pounds.org.

For more ways to reduce catalog clutter, see all ten tips here.

Forest Ethics calls junk mail an 'environmental crisis.' You can sign their petition to end junk mail here.


8 Responses to Ten Ways to Control Catalog Clutter

  1. Rachel White February 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    Here’s another opening for junk mail: store rewards cards. I advise people to be careful with these programs.
    I have also found that it requires vigilance to stay off catalogue mailing lists. When you make an online purchase from a retailer whose mailings you have opted out of, your online purchase may override your earlier opt out request.
    When I order online I also follow my order with an email to customer service requesting that my name not be added to the mailing list or sold, rented or otherwise shared with any third party.

  2. ECC February 15, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    Also a fun way to reuse the catalogs is if you have a friend that does any type of collage , it is a great way to be creative and to be green, making art, a vision board and so on with what is thought of by most people as junk mail!

  3. Carolyn Parrs February 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    As a green marketer, it’s also up to us to educate our clients on this kind of waste.
    Besides printing catalogs, here are a few environmental wake-up calls for corporations to consider concerning their communications:
    • Printing 10,000 bumper stickers equals 1.6 tons of CO2
    • Printing a 10,000 piece mailing equals 2.1 tons of CO2
    • Printing 10,000 yard signs equals 10.7 tons of CO2.
    The impact of these activities have been largely overlooked but groups such as SustainCommWorld.com are in the forefront of our industry providing research and awareness in this arena. They discovered that the 10 percent of the companies they surveyed had not even considered reporting on the carbon footprint of the publications they advertise in. In an effort to create meaningful change in the greening of the media supply chain, they publish articles, newsletters, and produce tradeshows in order to move the needle for marketers and business owners toward true sustainability in the marketing field.
    We all need to be in this together.
    Carolyn Parrs

  4. zee February 24, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    You’re so right — all that paper and ink used to produce catalogs is an environmental no-no! They may look pretty and nice to read, but the production of these catalogs really is a big waste of energy and resources!
    Last month, we did a 31-day series on living greener and healthier and one of our posts was about getting rid of junk mail! Carolyn’s stats above on corporate communications is really a cause for concern. We intend to spread the word to companies to rethink their marketing materials. Thanks, great post!

  5. mattresses February 26, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    Thanks for the very good tips. Reading this I recall that I am getting a few catalogs both at my house and my parent’s house (due to a few orders made during visiting). In the same vein I am also trying to generate less paper myself … any notes I take I take on the computer and I use a printer as seldom as possible.

  6. Diane MacEachern March 7, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    Thanks to all of you who wrote to say you will be taking issue on this. Keeping catalogs at bay is an ongoing battle, but one that’s very worthwhile.

  7. Diane MacEachern March 10, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    Thanks so much for letting your readers know about this. I appreciate the link back!

  8. Green Earth April 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm #

    Hope there are ten ways to control catalog clutter for free. :)

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