For a few years now, I have been using a site called Catalog Choice, which is a small, California-based non-profit that aims to “reduce unwanted mail, save natural resources, reduce clutter and take control of [your] mailbox.” I think that’s a mission statement that we can all appreciate.
The process of opting out of catalogs on Catalog Choice is simple: register at their site (free) and search for all of those annoying catalogs that bloat your mailbox, especially during the holidays. Top on my list of grievances is Nordstrom, with IKEA being a close second. As retailers, I enjoy and shop at these stores. However, as stewards of the environment, they are awful in that category. Do yourself a favor and keep the paper catalog handy before you toss it out as you are searching for the company name on the Catalog Choice site. You will be asked to key in a customer number or source code for it, and sometimes, the name is a little different on the site from that on the actual catalog.
Though they lack the tactile sensation, on-line catalogs are also far more useful than paper ones: they are easily searchable, provide oportunities to “try on” items, and are easily linked with coupons. This leads to my next point. A second reason to get rid of unwanted paper catalogs is that they can lead to impulse buying. While I am an advocate for subscribing to email lists for the sake of discounts, I find it much easier to delete a message than to dispose of a catalog. The catalog has a way of poking its head out in the recycle bin and begging for a second look.
You can rest assured that you will be doing yourself and the environment a favor by cutting down on your junk mail.