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Tired of all the wasteful catalogs you get?

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"Tired of all the wasteful catalogs you get?"

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deforestation.jpgThen I have the website for you: www.catalogchoice.org.

This is a free, on-line service that allows people to easily “opt out” of receiving unwanted catalogs. It is being operated by the Catalog Choice Task Force, which includes the Ecology Center, NRDC, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers. The climate impacts alone are staggering:

  • 53 million trees used
  • 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to the annual emissions of two million cars

Do we really need so many catalogs when we’ve got the internet at our fingertips?

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5 Responses to Tired of all the wasteful catalogs you get?

  1. Paul K says:

    Joe, I feel ahead of the curve here. We canceled all of our catalogs when we put in the indoor plumbing.

  2. Jim O' says:

    Its time for a national do not mail law to allow all of us to stop unwanted junk mail of all types.

  3. IANVS says:

    Treble, better yet, quintuple the postage for junk mail. That’ll put a dent in it.

  4. Earl Killian says:

    Wow, what a great service. I hope it works! The next one is to find a way to stop the fundraising solicitations. I am thinking of writing to all the non-profits I support telling them that if they don’t put me on a “do not solicit list”, I will stop supporting them.

  5. Jay Nelson says:

    In addition to other popular opt-out mail services such as the much publicized Direct Marketing Association (DMA) preference list, there is a little-known means of stopping unwanted direct mail advertisements from reaching your mailbox.

    It is nearly 100 percent effective. It can be used for stopping any business ad offering to sell you a product or service, including mail addressed “Occupant”, “Our Neighbor”, “Resident” and other nondescript address names.

    If enough people use this service, it may cause Congress and the Postal Service to sit up and notice that a “Do Not Mail” registry is what the majority of Americans want.

    Pursuant to federal law (Title 39 USC § 3008), a postal addressee who receives an unsolicited advertisement offering for sale matter that, in the addressee’s sole discretion, is “erotically arousing or sexually provocative,” may, by completing PS Form 1500, obtain a Prohibitory Order from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) directing the mailer to refrain from making further mailings to that addressee.

    The key phrase is “…in the addressee’s sole discretion…” For example, if a pizza advertisement strikes you as sexually provocative, you can use the Prohibitory Order to stop the company from mailing your further advertisements.

    Should the mailer (vendor) continue sending mail after receiving the USPS Prohibitory Order, the USPS turns the matter over to the United States Department of Justice for prosecution. The Justice Department is responsible for prosecuting violations of postal related laws.

    While the law, the form and the USPS instructions for using the form were originally intended for sexually explicit and provocative mail, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a decision – Rowan vs. U.S. Post Office Department, 397 U.S. 728 (1970) – ruled that the law under Title 39 USC § 4009 (now 39 USC § 3008) includes all unwanted commercial mail. Thus, PS Form 1500 is no longer used just for sexually explicit or provocative mail – although it still reads as such.

    Why the USPS or Congress has not changed the law, the form or the instructions to reflect the Supreme Court decision in the past 37 years is a conundrum that begs an answer.

    Nevertheless, the addressee should not be intimidated or confused by the instructions, the form or the law.

    If you have been receiving unwanted direct mail advertisements and you no longer want to receive them, simply go to the below website, print out the form and instructions, fill in the form, sign it, and mail it to the U. S. Postal Service at the address shown below.

    Shortly (experience indicates about 15 days after USPS receipt of the application), you will receive a letter advising you of the USPS action taken. Again, do not be confused by the letter’s wording – it all relates to sexual mail that you decided you did not want. Just think of your unwanted advertisements as sexually explicit mail.

    Use the below website to obtain PS Form 1500 and the instructions for completion:

    http://www.usps.com/forms/_pdf/ps1500.pdf

    Here, I have included the action steps that I followed. They are based on my experience, USPS instructions and legal references:

    1. Open the advertising envelope or wrapper (if there is one), take out all the contents and attach everything, including the envelope or wrapper, to the form. The USPS WILL NOT accept unopened envelopes or wrappers. Put all this into another envelope.

    2. Send your PS Form 1500 and material directly to:

    Pricing and Classification Service Center
    US Postal Service
    PO Box 1500
    New York NY 10008-1500

    You may need a large envelope for this step.

    It is not necessary to give the form to your postmaster as proposed in the USPS instructions as that office will only send it to the above address. Also, there have been reports that some Post Offices do not even know about the form or the process.

    3. Mark your calendar about 20 days out from the date you mail your form to USPS. If you do not receive a response by the date you expect to receive it, start inquiring. You can start here:

    Pricing and Classification Service Center
    Tel. 212-330-5300
    FAX: 212-330-5330

    4. If you don’t get prompt service from these folks, report this directly to the Postmaster General at:

    Postmaster General
    U.S. Postal Service
    475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
    Washington, DC 20260-1000
    Tel. 202-268-2020 FAX: 202-268-5211

    5. After you receive your copy of the USPS Prohibitory Order, mark your calendar again in accordance with the 30-day period explained in the letter. If, after the 30-day period, you receive mail that appears to have been sent in violation of the prohibitory order, open it and write clearly on the envelope and all its contents a statement that you received it and the date of receipt. For example, “I received this mailpiece on October 5, 2007.” Apply your signature below your statement. Include a photocopy of your prohibitory order, if possible, or a notation of the Prohibitory Order number and send the mailpiece to the address noted in paragraph 2., above.

    Important: Be courteous but firm in your letters and phone calls, where necessary. Inappropriate language and rage will defeat your objective totally.

    Additional information:

    a. The USPS “disposes” (translation: throw in trash) of all unwanted third class mail (now called “Standard Mail”) that you mark “refused” or “return to sender.” Nearly all advertisements are Standard Mail. Thus, if it is your desire to help reduce waste, this method is not an option.

    b. Use of the DMA opt-out services is somewhat successful, though not all advertisers belong to the DMA. Many nonmembers are the ignoble companies that Americans want to eliminate the most. Moreover, the DMA preference list is a blanket utility, i.e., not selective. “You cannot pick and choose which advertising mail you want to eliminate.” So, if you still want to receive catalogs from companies you have done business with, this is not a good option. The DMA also charges $1.00 for this service whereas critics believe this service should be free.

    c. Once you have stopped the company from mailing advertisements to your address you may still receive the advertising for awhile. The reason is that mass (bulk) advertising coming through the post office is usually sorted by the company before the post office gets it, using mailing lists the mailer has with your address on it. The mail carrier just picks up the pile that has been presorted by street/area and just starts delivering it house by house without looking at the address. If this happens, advise your postmaster (or your mail carrier) that your address has been deleted from the company’s mailing list and that you do not want any mail delivered to your address that does not have your name and address on the envelope or the wrapper – from that company.

    d. There is one more concern and that is “saturation mail.” It is usually mail or merchandise samples more than 5 inches wide (high) or 1/4 inch thick, or non-uniform in thickness. An example locally is the “Clipper Magazine.” These mailings frequently do not have the address printed on the mailpiece. But in these situations the mailpiece must (by USPS regulation) be accompanied by a detached address label called a “DAL.” This looks similar to a postcard in size with the recipient’s address printed on the card. There are occurrences where the DAL does not accompany the mailpiece. But this mail can be stopped also by using the above procedures.