If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mail Woes and Cloth Bags


Yesterday and today I received one pound three ounces of junk mail that went directly from my mailbox to the recycle bin. Yikes! One of the pieces actually came in a box with a pen for me to sign a petition. It may have been a good cause but I didn't really look at it. I just disassembled it, took out the pen and threw the rest in the recycle bin. I have begun a daily log of the weight of my junk mail and I will post it here weekly at least. I have called a few of the places that send me mail and have found that if you plan to do this on a regular basis be prepared to be put on hold a lot or be transferred to voice mail. Some will even act miffed that you are taking up their time. But stopping the flood of junk mail is worth the hassle.

OK, before I sound too holier than thou I do have to confess my guilt. I used to own a company that produced co-op ad pieces that went out through bulk mail to thousands of homes and consumed tons of paper and gallons of ink and probably irritated a few people in the process as well. But I was asleep then, I am awake now and I have flogged myself sufficiently to be free of that sin. Now I even print things on my computer to .pdf' files as much as I can and use paper only when absolutely necessary. Saves me a bunch on toner too. And we all know how much they charge for toner.

One thing I did recently is to pay a buck to the Direct Marketing Association for their Preferred Mail Service. Basically what this does is tell them I am sick of junk mail and would gladly pay a buck to get rid of it. Sort of like a spam filter for your snail mail. It takes a few months for the system to kick in and if it works I should see 75% less poundage coming my way. I also went to OptOut Prescreen.com and opted out of all of the "You are pre-approved for a Uranium credit card with a One-Million Dollar Limit" junk mail I get. This one is free to sign up for and lasts for five years unless you mail in a signature on a separate form and then it is permanent. If my efforts are successful I should see a big drop in my junk mail in the next six months. OK, now onto another topic.


Grocery shopping for me lately has brought on a large bit of guilt too. Since I eat a plant based diet that means I shop mostly in the produce and bulk sections. And what does that mean? It means that I come home from the market with dozens of plastic bags each time I go. I'm not talking about the "paper or plastic" bags at the checkout counter. I mean the flimsy ones you spend five minutes trying to open so you can dump a head of lettuce in. However I have finally discovered an answer. They are called Eco Bags, are made of cloth, have a string tie and are reusable. I found them at ReusableBags.com. I ordered ten of them at $2.25 a piece with about five bucks shipping today and they should be here sometime next week. Once I have a chance to use them I'll post my experiences here. Since I already use reusable bags to bring my groceries home having these should eliminate the plastic all together. Oh, and I should mention when you are at the site don't leave without reading the "Fast Facts" section and looking at the "Photo Gallery". Plastic bags are not just unsightly and a waste of resources, they also kill an enormous amount of wildlife.


Anonymous said...

Hi Scott. I've been obsessed for about a month with getting myself off mailing lists! I don't weigh my mail, but I do keep a log of the senders and when and how I contacted them.

The thing about the mail preference service (or whatever it's called) I believe is that they don't take you off the lists of companies you've done business with. I believe that if you are a customer, the company still has the right to send you mail unless you call and ask to be removed. And since I used to do a lot of mail order shopping (have curbed that habit now) I am on a lot of lists and have been making a lot of phone calls!

It's nice to know there's someone else as serious (or obsessed?) about this as I am.


Scott said...


My wife calls me obsessed. I prefer the word "diligent", but she is probably right. But I am forgetful so I have forgotten to weigh my mail. Oh well.