Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reducing Catalogs

Over the years, we have been very cognizant of the fact that paper is a "gift from Trees".  When I hold paper in my hands, I recognize it as "Tree".  I wonder what stories it could tell.  I wonder where it came from.

Consequently, we have tried really hard to reduce our use of paper.  To be sure, we can do more.  And this particular leaning means we need to always be vigilant.

One of our greatest frustrations has been the volume of catalogs that used to stuff our mailbox.  I am pleased to report that they "used" to stuff our box.  We are very careful about "lists" that sell our name and address.  Whenever we sign up for something new which requires address and/or phone number (like getting a new catalog), we try always to ask:  "What do you do with this information?"  And we specify that we do not want our name sold. (I could add a further question, which would be appropriate, but I have not done that yet:  "Do you have our permission to sell our name and address?")

Whenever we get a new catalog we do not want, we quickly head to the phone and request cancellation.  Some companies make it easy.  Very easy.  Other companies make it more difficult.  For those, I push the button described as "place an order".  That usually gets results.  When I finally talk with an operator, I request information about where they got our name (they do not always know), I state clearly they we do not want our name sold, I tell them we do this for the trees, I note that we buy only what we need, I ask them to pass this information on.

I do recognize that the operator is someone who is usually not connected to decision making.  Further, I know they are just trying to make ends meet.  I try to be nice.  That usually works.

About every 2 years, we have also contacted the Direct Marking Association to have our names removed.  We have found it important to include all variations of name and address.  It would be important to check the differences one sees in the address labels of catalogs.  The computer sees each of these addresses as different people.  Aren't computers fun?

Just recently I found what looks like a wonderful new resource that may well top that and some besides. I like that it includes an option of removing those multiple phone directories.  Who needs all those phone directories anyway?

Years ago, I read where certain locations of forested areas had produced telephone directories and toilet paper. That little piece of information really got me going.
Change is happening.  For that, we are deeply grateful.

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