Tuesday, January 20, 2009

10 Easy ways to be more sustainable with your mail

Mail. It comes six days a week, and I throw 75% of it out immediately. I've got less to throw out now than I did in the past, however. There are some things you receive in the mail that you are never going to be able to avoid, but many of the things you do receive can be managed. Here are ten easy ways to curb the amount of mail that comes into your box and the paper waste that you generate.

  1. Get paperless bank statements. Most banks will now e-mail you your monthly statements instead of sending them in the mail. If you want to make sure that you keep track of everything, you will need some sort of banking software that will allow you to download those statements.
  2. Go paperless with your monthly bills. The phone bill, the electric bill, your insurance bills, your credit card bill - many of them can now be sent to your e-mail and then paid online. Not only does this keep paper from coming into your house, it saves you money in stamps.
  3. Get rid of unwanted catalogs by going to Catalog Choice and opting out of individual catalogs.
  4. Contact non-profit organizations that send you requests for donations (the ones you don't donate to) and ask them to remove your name and address from their mailing list.
  5. Don't renew magazines that you never read.
  6. Visit DMAchoice.org to get off of many direct marketing lists.
  7. Go to privacyrights.org to find out how to opt out of all sorts of mailings such as credit card offers, flyers, advertising supplements, and sweepstakes.
  8. Send e-vites for casual get-togethers instead of mailing formal invitations. 
  9. Save the return envelops from mailings you do receive to use for things like making grocery lists on and sending money into school with your kids.
  10. Recycle all unwanted mail. Anything with sensitive information on it should be shredded first then recycled.
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