These people have all recently accepted this challenge.
Kick The Catalogs Featured on Jan 13, 2010
Cut down on the number of catalogs jamming your mailbox this year. We'll show you how!
Reducing your catalogs by 75% will lower your CO2 emissions a total of 30 lbs over the next 12 months.
2744 people have reduced CO2 emissions by 40.72 tons by completing this challenge so far. That's equal to turning off the electricity of 35 homes for about 1 month!
This challenge was originally published on Jan 4, 2008. Since then, about 2,200 people have accepted this year-long action, eliminated about 145,000 catalogs, and reduced CO2 by about 30 tons. Bravo!
If you’re a veteran Rallyer, now’s the time to re-up your commitment, and smack-down those pesky catalogs that still manage to get through your mail slot.
So far, according to comments below, people have been relatively happy with Catalog Choice. Rallyers have also suggested a few other junk mail services such as ProQuo. For those willing to pay $20 for a broader service that handles junk mail, phonebooks, and coupons, Rallyers recommend MyJunkTree, and GreenDimes.
Please submit a comment if you’ve had a good or bad experience with any services like these.
The Carbon Connection
You already know that Americans use a lot of paper. According to the Worldwatch Institute, the United States has only 5 percent of the world’s population but consumes 30 percent of the world’s paper. And no small part of that paper consumption comes from the avalanche of mail-order catalogs in our mailboxes throughout the year. It is estimated that 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers each year.
The manufacture of paper requires energy. That energy most likely comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere. And the raw material for paper is wood. 53 millions of trees are cut down each year just to make the paper used for printing the 19 billion catalogs.
Of course, printing a catalog takes energy as well. And transporting paper from paper mills to printing plants (and from printing plants to distribution centers and from distribution centers to your mailbox) involves vehicles burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide. The heavier the load, the more fossil fuel it takes to move it and the more CO2 released. And you can imagine, catalogs are pretty heavy. Over 3.6 million tons of paper are used to print catalogs each year.
Getting It Done
Need help meeting this Challenge? Here are a few simple suggestions:
- Perhaps the easiest way to cut down on your catalogs is to use the new online service, Catalog Choice. Sponsored by the California-based Ecology Center and endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Catalog Choice offers you a simple way to opt out of catalogs. To use Catalog Choice, you first sign up for a free account. Then, for each catalog you no longer want to receive, you enter the name on the mailing label and the customer number if you find one on the catalog. Repeat the process for as many catalogs as you like. Catalog Choice then contacts the mail order companies for you and requests that your name be removed from their mailing lists. In 8 to 10 weeks, you should start seeing a big difference in the number of catalogs reaching your mailbox.
- Of course, there’s probably still a place in your world for a paper catalog. Seeing clothes on models and flipping through paper pages is sometimes better than seeing a solitary, floating object in an online catalog. And you probably have mail-order companies with whom you like to do the occasional commercial transaction. So you would like to continue receiving their catalogs… on occasion. If you don’t need a company’s “summer catalog” and “late summer catalog” after receiving their “summer preview catalog,” then this is where a phone call directly to the company can work wonders. Call the company’s customer service number and tell them how often you want to receive catalogs. One per season might be a good place to start. You can also use this opportunity to opt out of one or more of their catalog variations (e.g. Men’s, Women’s, Kid’s, Home, etc.). You can also let them know when you are need to stop receiving duplicate catalogs at your address.
- Look at online order forms more carefully. You have probably seen where online merchants ask you whether or not you want to receive email advertisements and communications. Sometimes those same forms will ask whether or not you want to receive a print catalog as well. The best way to stay off of mailing lists is to not sign up for them in the first place.
Do you have any experience with trying to opt out of receiving mail-order catalogs? Please share them in the Challenge forum section below.
Rules of the Challenge
We know you may want to continue receiving some catalogs or that you may be unsuccessful in getting some companies to stop sending you mail. So this Challenge is to reduce the number of catalogs you receive in a year by 75%. For the average household, that means cutting down the number of catalogs from 88 per year to only 22. By eliminating 75% of your catalogs, you will reduce CO2 emissions by 30 lbs in 2008. This is a one-time challenge that lasts for one year. It can’t be repeated.
See the Math
Here are our basic assumptions:
- Our research shows that the average household receives 88 catalogs per year.
- Based on estimates to produce the paper, print the catalogs, and deliver them to your mailbox, those 88 catalogs are responsible for 48 lbs of CO2 released each year.
- We know you might still want to receive some catalogs. We also admit that it’s difficult to get off of some lists or keep from getting on others. So we are asking Rallyers to reduce their catalogs by 75% (66 fewer catalogs) over the next year.
- Reducing your catalogs by 75% would decrease CO2 by 75% as well. Your CO2 savings for one year would be 75% of 48 lbs, or 36 lbs of CO2. That’s 3 lbs per month.
- However, it takes time to get your name off of mailing lists. Even if you sign up with Catalog Choice today or call 20 catalog companies, it will still take a couple of months for your name to make it off of the lists and for you to notice a difference in the number of catalogs you receive. We have therefore reduced the CO2 benefits for this year by 2 months or 6 lbs. So the adjusted yearly savings are 30 lbs of CO2.
- We will credit you with those 30 lbs of yearly CO2 savings as 2.5 lbs per month.
Start clearing out your mailbox and saving more CO2 today with this easy Challenge! Don’t just resolve to do better this year. Get out there and do it!
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