The great news is that nearly a million people have signed up, opting to cut down their junk mail and more importantly, send a signal to retailers that they are wasting the planet's natural resources by sending out the catalogs to people who don't want them anyway.
It doesn't matter how you sum up Catalog Choice, the fact is that people love it. And it continues to grow. And the retailers that take part gain credibility as being environmentally conscious and in tune with their customers, or potential customers' needs.
I know I opted out of Hammacher Schlemmer six months ago and just yesterday, I received a catalog. Do I think poorly of Catalog Choice for not being able to strike a deal? Nope. I think poorly of Hammacher Schlemmer who isn't listening to me, who isn't concerned about wasting resources, who is too self-centered to realize that they are having a negative impact on my perceptions of their company.
All I know is the halo effect around retailers such as Grandin Road, allposters.com and Relax the Back is heightened due to their desire to listen to their customers by not sending catalogs when customers don't want them. Hmmm. Listening to what customers want and need. That's a concept every retailer can learn from.
- electronic billing for all your monthly services (gas, electronic, phone, etc.)
- electronic statements for your bank accounts
- online manuals for your home appliances
- online directories for phone numbers - read more about opting-out of phone books here
- online newspaper and magazines
- electronic book readers
The paperless life is not for everybody, but if it is for you the ability to go paperless is getting easier everyday.
Sam states in his post titled A Win/Win/Win:
There are lots of benefits to this idea. First, it just makes sense. If people don't want a catalog, then they shouldn't receive it. It will either go in the trash or, if we're lucky, get recycled, which uses energy that would have never have been needed if the catalog had never been produced and mailed in the first place.
But the thing I love about this idea is that it puts the decision in the hands of the consumer, not the company. And because it is done so well, both the consumer and the company benefit. Consumers get only the catalogs they desire and companies don't waste money and natural resources sending a catalog to people who will only throw it away.
They call this site "Catalog Choice." But it's really "Consumer Choice." Consumers win. Marketers win. The environment wins. Even the Post Office wins. I doubt all those postal carriers want to lug around all those catalogs and deliver them to people who are just going to throw them away.
I raise my glass and toast the founders. Well done!
Sam - our glasses are raised to you, thanks!
Catalog Choice Team
- Use sturdy cloth or mesh reusable totes instead of paper or plastic shopping bags. Paper bags are more energy and resource intensive than plastic bags, but plastic generates even more air and water pollution.
- Turn off electronics when not in use. Studies show that using Energy Star computers and other business machines can conserve up to 75% of electricity compared to standard equipment.
- Look into a different mode of transportation. Every gallon of gasoline your car burns emits about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. Try carpooling, mass transit, biking to work or school, and walking whenever possible, even just one day per week.
- If you travel a lot, think about offsetting your own carbon output. There are several cool sites: www.carbonfund.org, www.savegreenearth.com; now even Expedia and Travelocity offer offsets.
- Reduce. Ah, the first of the three R’s. If you don’t want to get a catalog that you have no interest in, sign up for Catalog Choice. If it’s another type of unwanted mail other than catalogs, check out www.dmachoice.org, or www.greendimes.org
- Re-use. Heard about “freecycling”? The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,339 groups with almost 5 million members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Membership is free. Check out www.freecycle.org for more info.
- Recycle more. Eighty-six percent of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling. To find a local recycler, check out www.Earth911.org.
- Calculate your carbon footprint. There are a number of carbon calculators out there, and ways to cut down. A cool one for kids is at www.meetthegreens.org; for adults - http://www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/carboncalculator/
Most importantly – take some time today to spend a “Green Hour” outside, and really appreciate the wonder and beauty of our planet.
Happy Earth Day From Catalog Choice!
We know that many of you want to provide more than one reason, but that would make the results harder to interpret. So, what do the results say:
1. Lots of consumers want to help the environment by not receiving catalogs in the mail. Consumers and merchants working together can significantly reduce paper consumption when consumers specify their mail preferences and merchants honor them. This is one of the little things that we all can do to lighten our footprint on the earth.
2. Lots of catalogs are being sent to people who have no interest in the products. Honoring these requests will save money for merchants and reduce the clutter in consumers' lives.
3. Lots of people prefer to shop online. eCommerce sites have matured and consumers are much more "internet savvy" than they were 10 years ago.
4 . Some people feel that they get too many catalogs. We have heard this over and over again and are working on a system that will allow you to "opt-down" - that is request to receive fewer mailing of a catalog rather than none at all. Stay tuned.
5. Duplicates, person not at residence and deceased (primary "other" response) are a small but important set of unwanted mail that should be straight forward to stop now that we make it easy for consumers to enter the request and merchants to honor it.