Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Cut Down on Catalogs

Catalog ChoiceI just signed up for Catalog Choice, a program supported by the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency and the City of Santa Fe to cut down on unwanted mail. While the junk mail is merely a nuisance to me and my mouse-sized post office box, it adds up in the community, costing the City thousands of dollars each year, about $10 per household, in waste disposal. Signing up for this service is free, and you can add several addresses to ensure that [business name redacted] stops sending you unsolicited ads or the annual phone books.

The one drawback to Catalog Choice is, unlike the National Do Not Call Registry that blocks phone calls from telemarketers across the board, you need to actually know the names of the businesses and organizations that are sending you unwanted mail and request for each one to be blocked individually. This part of the service is free. Also, not all companies can be "blocked" in this manner. If you want to be across-the-board "unlisted", meaning that some of the biggest marketers will not have access to your mailing address, that type of membership costs a minimum of $20 per year.

So while it's a step in the right direction, staving off the onslaught of commercial mail still requires an investment of time and/or money. Perhaps I'm just spoiled by over a decade of clicking a button that reads "Spam" to keep this sort of thing out of my e-mail. But even if we just cut down on some of the unwanted mail that take up a lot of time, attention, and taxpayer resources, the savings in money and environment will help us all.

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