Still less than one year old, Catalog Choice is poised to register its one millionth user any minute now (at the time of this posting, membership stands at 999,450). That’s an amazing accomplishment for a completely not-for-profit service that has depended entirely on word-of-mouth and media coverage to advertise its existence.
What do one million users translate into in terms of environmental benefits? According to the EDF Paper Calculator, our one million users – who have collectively opted out of approximately 13.3 million catalogs – are saving:
- Over 60,000 tons of wood, the equivalent of more than 420,000 trees saved.
- Over 180 million pounds of CO2 equivalent, the same as taking more than 16,000 cars of the road each year.
- About 900,000 million BTU’s, or the equivalent energy used in about 10,000 homes per year.
- More than 421 million gallons of waste water, the equivalent of about 650 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- Approximately 65 million pounds of solid waste, or about 2,300 garbage trucks’ worth.
This is a remarkable achievement, and grossly exceeds the Catalog Choice creators’ wildest expectations. Believe it or not, at the time of launch, we had hoped to have 100,000 users by the end of our first year. We clearly blew that goal out of the water – by a factor of 10!
But to fully realize these potential environmental benefits – and save our users from the inconvenience and annoyance of pulling all those unwanted catalogs out of their mailboxes – we still have work to do. Merchant compliance with Catalog Choice users’ opt-out requests is still voluntary. As many who are already members have no doubt discovered, while many companies are acting responsibly (and in their own economic self-interest) to honor your requests, others continue to refuse to do so and their customers (or for the truly frustrated, former customers) keep receiving their catalogs even after opting out.
We continue to work hard every day to convince every catalog mailer to comply with our users’ requests, and we are making progress.
To help push us over the edge in terms of merchant compliance there are a few simple things you can do, too:
- First and foremost, if you haven’t already, sign up for the Catalog Choice service at www.catalogchoice.org.
- Use the Invite Friends feature to tell your friends to sign up.
- If you blog, keep the word about Catalog Choice circulating.
- Call those merchants who continue to refuse to honor your opt-out requests and ask them to take you off their mailing lists and to honor all requests transmitted through Catalog Choice.
Help us reach that all important one million mark that will let the catalog industry know just how important it is to you that they honor your mail preferences!