But an app can help consumers cut down on the waste
You may have heard the USPS is turning to junk mail to try to turn around their several billion dollar budget deficit. A full 59% of all mail is already junk mail, and that accounts for almost 90 billion pieces of mail per year! Every week I shake my head at the immense waste as I grab the pile of flyers and solicitations that I’m not interested in and pick through everything to make sure something important isn’t mixed in. (Every once in a while Mommy and Grammy send me a card, so I have to keep an eye out for that!)
For people like me who have taken advantage of online bill pay and online banking, my weekly trip to the mailbox feels more like a trip to take out the trash. I want to stop it but how can I get removed from those annoying lists?
First is a smartphone app called Paper Karma. It is a relatively new app that has gotten good reviews. Download the app to your Android, iPhone or Windows Phone, create an account and within a minute you’re ready to go! Take a picture of the piece of junk mail you don’t want to receive any longer, and Paper Karma will automatically recognize the mailer, contact them on your behalf and have you removed from their mailing list! Sure it’s not perfect, but if it cuts down on my junk mail by even 25% I’m willing to do it.
For those of you who aren’t app-inclined (or just don’t trust those newfangled phones) there is also a website you can join to help the cause. Catalog Choice is a not-for-profit group that is responsible for stopping over 19 million pieces of junk mail. When you receive a piece of junk mail go to their website and report the sender and they will request removal on your behalf. There is a little more manual work involved because you have to search for the companies from which you received the junk mail (which can be a little confusing from time to time) but this is also an effective way to reduce paper waste.
So either get ready for a renewed onslaught of junk mail in a mailbox near you, or take advantage of these resources to help you cut down on wasteful advertising practices. If they get the message loud and clear enough, perhaps they will turn their energy to a “green” form of marketing called internet marketing!