As someone who tries to be environmentally aware and aspires to wear the green label, I found it frustrating to be greeted by an overflowing mailbox of junk mail and catalogs. Stopping mail affiliations and switching to email communication where possible was a start. But the delivered catalogs were bringing an abundance of dead trees to my mailbox daily.
Then I met Catalog Choice, a great resource for anyone committed to saving trees and helping businesses flourish. Their service can decrease the amount of unwanted mail that you receive, help you with paperless shopping options, or decrease the frequency of catalogs you wish to continue receiving. Once you are enrolled, you may check back as often as you like to see the progress of your requests. If the catalog you are receiving is not on their list, you may request they add it. It does take a few weeks to notice a difference, as most companies prepare their mailing labels for mass distribution months in advance, but the decrease in unwanted mail can considerable.
A few times I needed to call the company to place the request, but Catalog Choice even made that step easy, providing me with all the information I needed to make the contact. Each time I needed to call, the response was immediate and very courteous. And I never received another catalog from any of the companies I called, given the grace period for mailings in process.
Chuck Teller developed the idea for Catalog Choice along with his funding partners in 2006. By 2007 the service was up and running, and he was joined by April Smith; Jill McCleary, Jenn Fortier, and Tim Murphy are all now on board. Together, they bring a wealth of experience from business software, economics and entrepreneurship (Chuck), project management, strategic planning, communications, and nonprofit organizational development (April), product management at Morningstar, Inc., and business illustration (Jill), service and management experience and environmental learning education (Jenn), to senior product and service design positions (Tim); Tim also runs www.realius.com, a real estate prediction site.
October 9, 2009 was the second anniversary of Catalog Choice’s genesis. They now have over 1.2 million members and are growing. They have a blog and a new section for paperless shopping. You might even find some catalogs you are not receiving that you would like to receive. New services soon to be added include rejecting coupons, phone books and credit card offers. With over a thousand companies already entered into the program, this service is able to offer most anyone a decrease in unwanted mail.
If you are looking for a painless was to green your mailbox, look no further than Catalog Choice, a sponsored project of the Ecology Center. This is a free service, but they do appreciate donations so they can stay continue to expand their helpful services. How much is it worth to save a forest, reduce the stress on your mail carrier, and become a greener consumer? Not only is Catalog Choice a green certified website (as is Veganacious) but they belong to 1% for the Planet: Keeping Earth in Business. The organization, launched in 2002 by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and Blue Ribbon Flies Owner Craig Mathews, encourages businesses to make a commitment to the environment by donating 1% of all income to environmental groups worldwide. Catalog Choice also offers a list of eco-friendly and green companies if you are looking for a conscientious way to give gifts this holiday season or to make necessary purchases for your home.
Click on the Catalog Choice icon to the top right, center column, to go directly to their website. All photos courtesy of Catalog Choice.