I’ve read that the typical American homes get 41 pounds of bulk mail a year. About 19 billion catalogs are shipped each year. Some enviros are now pushing for a “do-not-mail” registry, similar to the “do-not-call” registry that has cut down on unwanted phone calls.
In the meantime, companies are pledging to use more recycled or environmentally-friendly paper in theircatalogs, as I write in my CNNMoney column today. A campaign by a group called ForestEthics persuaded Victoria’s Secret, which mails 390 (!!) million catalogs a year, to make modest improvements in its paper-buying practices. Here’s an image from the Forest Ethics campaign:
Much stronger environmental commitments were made by Dell and Williams-Sonoma. Here’s how the column begins:
If your mailbox looks anything like mine during the weeks before Christmas, it is overflowing with catalogs.
Retailers mailed out about 19 billion catalogs last year, according to the Direct Marketing Association. Most of the paper in those catalogs – as much as 95% – comes from trees, and not recycled sources. And most catalogs quickly wind up as trash. What a waste.
Happily, that’s beginning to change, thanks in part to a pesky and persistent advocacy group called ForestEthics which has persuaded a number of Fortune 500 companies to buy paper in ways that will preserve valuable forests.
You can read the rest of the column here.