As I blogged about at the time of its launch last October, Catalog Choice is the free, easy on-line service that lets you opt out of receiving all those unwanted catalogs – the ones you never asked for, never intend to purchase from, and throw immediately away – while continuing to receive the ones you like.
Since that time, nearly half a million people have signed up with Catalog Choice, of which NRDC is a sponsoring organization. Those 500,000 people have together already opted out of more than 5 million catalogs. Since most mailers send on average 11 catalogs a year, that means that in a few short months, the Catalog Choice community has already cancelled more than 55 million catalogs that were destined – unread! – for the landfill, the incinerator or the recycling plant.
And Catalog Choice got a tremendous boost this morning when we were featured on the Today Show! The segment (click the “launch” button), part of the “Today Goes Green” series, is hosted by Ann Curry and features a fabulous group of school kids who have taken on the challenge of cancelling unwanted catalogs – and extended that challenge to schools across the country. By noon EST, Catalog Choice’s registered users had increased by more than 30,000 and the hits just keep coming!
To put this all in perspective, every year, the catalog industry mails more than 19 billion catalogs in the United States. A shocking approximately 95% of those catalogs are made from virgin forests (i.e., with no recycled paper content), at great ecological costs to our atmosphere, biodiversity, water, rare forests, landfills and incinerators.
Overall, producing that many catalogs on an annual basis uses:
· 53 million trees – the equivalent of clear-cutting 2000 Central Parks
· 3.6 million tons of paper
· 38 billion BTUs of power – enough energy to power 1.2 million homes per year
· 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions – equal to the annual emissions 2 million cars
· 53 billion gallons of water – enough to fill 81,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools
Yet the industry’s own research shows that only less than 2% of the catalogs received in this country actually result in a purchase.
In other words, the billions of unwanted catalogs that are mailed every year – besides being clogging our mailboxes – result in a tremendous waste of precious natural resources.
To date, Catalog Choice’s members have already saved more than 150,000 trees, enough energy to power 3,500 homes for a year, and as much global warming pollution as emitted by 6,000 cars over a year.
But we still have much to do. So if you haven’t already, please join in our efforts to rid Americans’ mailboxes of resource-squandering unwanted catalogs. And if you are already a member, don’t forget to tell your friends and family to sign up and take control over their mailboxes.
For those of you who are already registered users – or plan to join the Catalog Choice community – thank you! Also, we have also recently rolled out a series of updates to the site to let you readily determine which of the catalog companies you have requested to stop sending you their catalogs are honoring your requests, and which still need to come on board. This link takes you to a thorough explanation of the site’s new features. We hope you find them useful, and be assured that more is to come as we continue in our efforts to ensure that all of our members’ requests to get off mailing lists are being duly honored.