simple ways to reduce paper waste: part 1


Part 1 of 2

Junk mail, catalogs, bills, receipts, packaging, magazines, office paper, newspapers, wrapping paper, greeting cards, paper plates and cups, napkins, paper towel, toilet paper. The amount of paper in our lives is astounding. But there are so many easy ways to cut back on paper waste. You’ll not only saves trees, you’ll save water, money, and aggravation (especially when it comes to junk mail!).

1. Reduce junk mail and catalogs

  • Green Dimes: Their basic service is free, but you’ve got to opt out of each sender yourself. A $20 one-time fee gets you auto-opt out (including catalogs) and they’ll plant 5 trees, too. $36 gets you all the stuff $20 gets you plus some extra goodies like CFLs.
  • 41 pounds: That’s how much junk mail a person receives in a year. And it costs $41 for 5 years, with 1/3 of that going to the nonprofit of your choice. Like Green Dimes, they also let you opt out of catalogs
  • DMA (Direct Marketer’s Association): It just takes $1 (sent by snail mail) to get off of mailing lists you don’t want to be on. This is the service I used a few years ago and the only unwanted mail I get is from various charities I’ve given to since signing up.
  • Catalog Choice: It’s free to join and you can opt out or opt in to as many catalog mailing lists as you want (as long as they’re in their database, of course). You can check the status of your request (whether it’s been accepted or not) whenever you sign in.

2. Cancel the paper and read the news online

3. Get your bills delivered via email
Check your bills and you’ll probably see the option to have them sent by email, either as a checkbox directly on the bill (that you’ll send via snail mail for the last time, see below) or by logging into your account online.

4. Pay bills online
Stop writing checks, save a stamp, an envelope, and the paper it takes to make those checks. It’s so easy to set up, all you need is the payees address and your account info. But it varies from bank-to-bank so I won’t go into the process here.

5. Plan your online purchases
Reduce cardboard and packing material waste. When buying stuff online from one vendor, make sure you purchase in bulk and choose the option to send the stuff in one shipment.

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