Mail Order Catalogues and what I’d do with them if I were in Charge

Outlaw them!  If someone doesn’t have access to a computer, to Email, or to the internet, they probably shouldn’t be marketed to anyway.  On any given day I can arrive at home to find at least 3 to 5 catalogues each with 50+ pages.  I know you can request that they not be sent to you, but those requests hold up about as well as the “no call rule.”

I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of wasted energy goes into a) designing, b) printing, c) mailing, d) delivering said catalogues.  Oh wait, I don’t have to imagine it…someone else already figured it out.  According to the Environmental Defense Fund, more than 53 million trees and 38 trillion BTUs of energy are need make the 3.6 million tons of paper consumed by catalogues each year (enough to power 1.2 million households per year.)  This process emits 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide equal to annual emissions of 2 million cars — significantly contributing to global warming.  More that 53 billion gallons of wastewater is discharged to create the catalog paper — enough to fill 81,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  This doesn’t even take into account the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by the US Post Office from delivering these useless pieces of paper.

Marketing proponents out there will of course claim they are a necessary evil…yeah yeah yeah.  An inefficient use of resources will ultimately amount to nothing more than that.  There are more effective and efficient ways of getting the word out and until organizations are forced to vigorously pursue those alternatives, we’ll be lugging these catalogues to the curb for recycling pick up (assuming we recycle) from now until eternity.

(and we don’t prupport  to be environmentalists, per se)

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