Say no to 1500 catalogues a year!

catalogues1_03A couple of years ago, I heard about the work Mandy Haggith was doing to increase people’s awareness about their paper footprint.

During her travelling roadshow, she showed the amount of paper the average person uses in a year. It was 1/4 ton per person. Stop and read that again – 1/4 ton per person per year.

The paper mountain includes 120 toilet rolls, two bin bags full of junk mail and a staggering 1500 catalogues.

Over on Reduce Footprints this week, we’ve been asked to remove our name from catalogue distribution lists for our Change the World Wednesday Challenge.[amazon-product align=”right” small=”1″]0753513293[/amazon-product]

As you might have guessed, I did this a couple of years ago. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to do this in bulk in the UK.
Over in the US, there is catalog choice, which enables you to control the catalogues you receive. No such luck in the UK – you’re going to have to do it the hard way! If a specific company is sending mail to you that you no longer want, contact that company directly and ask them to remove your details from their database. They are obliged to do so by law.

Make sure your name is off the junk mail list too. You can do this with the Mail Preference service. And whenever you fill out forms or take surveys, make sure you search for the box to tick that ensures you don’t get any more mail from a company.

So what’s the deal with receiving catalogues? Paper is made from from a renewable resource, can be recycled and biodegrades, right?

Well yes, but the more common scenario is that paper comes from poorly managed forests, the trees are not replaced after use which results in soil erosion and loss of habitat. In addition, paper can only be recycled 5 times before the fibres become too weak and if paper ends up in landfill (over 5 million tonnes does per year) it produces methane. Not to mention the toxic inks used to produce appealing catalogues!

With around 2/3 of us having internet access at home, there is no need to have paper catalogues – you can simply browse online. You often get ‘internet only’ deals too!

What about you? Is there a particular company that keep sending you catalogues? Why not make a commitment to contacting them this week and cancelling it?


  1. Shawna Coronado on February 19, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Amazing post..
    Had never seen the quantity of paper used per person spelled out so clearly.

  2. Le-Chat on February 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    The one company that I ever had a yearly catalogue from banned me from their client list a few years ago because I was tagged as a bad payer. Hahahaha…best way to get rid of them! (Payed all I owed them as a good girl in the end anyway)
    But about the TP… 120 rolls per person? Wow. I think I did about one a week. But since I introduced my so called drop-cloth (and old face cloth) I went down to one in 3-4 weeks. Living alone I don’t find it groce to use it for several days then just replace and wash the other one. It also saves water. Not having to flush away the paper a minimal squirt of water (I have a stopper on my toilet) is enough or just a drop from the bucket with rainwater or shower water.
    I still gtet a lot of unadressed junkmail, but I recycle most of that as note paper or packaging.
    At least I haven’t BOUGHT a piece of printing or writing paper in over ten years.

  3. Mrs Green on March 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    @Shawna Coronado: Hi Shawna, you are welcome. The work Mandy did with her presentations must have been amazing to experience 🙂

    @Le-Chat: Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve thought about wee cloths too. And I’d never put together that if you don’t use toilet paper you don’t have to flush so often either – great point; thanks!