Monday, April 7, 2008

Catalog Bombardment

I am excited to share with you the first guest blog on Many of my views on the environment have been shaped by my sister Amy. I have invited her to share some of her ideas. MD

Catalog Bombardment
By Amy Kobak

Ah, spring. It’s that beautiful time of year when mail order companies begin to bombard me with catalogs full of everything from bathing suits and beach towels to trolls and snake repellant for my garden. But not this year! On January 2, (I never make resolutions on the first) I decided that it was time to do something about the ridiculous number of catalogs that I was receiving. Even though I always recycle the catalogs that come to me and many of them are now made from partially recycled content, I considered the sheer volume of catalogs to be a waste for so many reasons. So, I came up with a plan of attack with the intension of sharing my findings with my siblings, including Professor Daley, so they could attempt to do the same.

It started with a little notebook and a pencil that I kept on my kitchen counter. For the entire month of January I wrote down the name of every catalog that came to my mailbox. I also wrote the name of the person it was addressed to, the mailing address on the catalog, and any of the numbers that I could find, you know, the ones in the little blue and yellow boxes. I was surprised to find that in some cases, I was receiving multiple copies of the same catalog due to variations in the name or address. At the end of the four weeks I contacted each catalog company either through their website or by phone and asked to be removed from their mailing lists. This took a while, but I got through them all. I was generally told I would probably receive one or two more catalogs since the mailing labels are printed well in advance but that after that I shouldn’t receive anymore catalogs. I have been pleasantly surprised. It actually seems to have worked and I don’t miss the catalogs at all. Besides, there is always the internet if I feel the need to see what’s new in catalog land.

While not everyone may choose to follow the plan of attack that I chose, it would make a difference if each person could choose one or two catalogs and request removal from the mailing lists. is a free website dedicated to this cause. I only recently learned about this site but it seems as though it will do some of the work for you. I am planning on trying this method out as well.

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