Reduce Your Paper Waste

We all spend too much time sorting, handling, hauling around, and recycling unwanted paper in the form of catalogs, utility and bank statements, magazines, alumni communications, and newspapers.

Here are a few sustainable living tips on how to reduce your paper waste.

Invest a few minutes and you can save hundreds of pounds of unwanted paper coming through your house, office, or apartment every year.   Why burden yourself with all that needless sorting, tossing, hauling outside?

Every year, 100 million trees are cut down each year part of it goes towards the approximately 4.5 million tons of unwanted mail in the U.S.

Most of the household inbound paper volume comes from the daily delivery of major daily city newspapers,  (Washington Post, NY Times, and all the others…).  A single newspaper subscription alone pulls about 400 pounds of paper through a typical household every year.  Add another 200 pounds if you also subscribe to the Wall Street Journal or your local hometown paper.  Multiply that across your immediate neighborhood or town and that’s thousands of trees every year and a huge impact on the world’s forest.

how to reduce your paper wasteCouple that with all the water and energy consumed making the paper, plus all the pollution emitted harvesting, hauling, producing, delivering the virgin fibers not to mention the energy consumed recycling all that paper and it quickly adds up to a significant environmental impact.

We’re not suggesting that you stop reading or following your interests, just re-evaluate how you can smartly trim some of your paper consumption.
A few smart ways on how to reduce your paper waste all of that unwanted, unnecessary inbound paper. 

Unwanted mail solicitations and catalogs.  Call or email several direct mail organizations to have your name put on the do not mail list – see the list of contacts and their links below.  Tear off the mailing cover from that unwanted catalog and send it back asking that they take you off the mailing list and/or switch you to their electronic mailing list – they’re obligated by law to honor your request.

Contact the Direct Marketing Association and request that you be added to their do not mail list.  This link takes you to a thorough explanation of how to be taken off all mailing list and there’s an online form at the bottom of the page.  DMA says it charges $5 fee for submitting the request, so we completed the online form, submitted it, but it did not seem to take (at least as of January 2014).   But give it a try, it might be working behind the scenes.

how to reduce your paper wasteOnce your name/address is on the do not mail list, it is distributed to all direct mailers who are obligated to purge your name from their future mailing lists.  

It may take a few months to work its way through the system, but you will soon see less unwanted solicitations in your mailbox.

–  American Direct Mail Partners, 908 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505,  888-800-100o,
–  The D&B Corporation, 103 JFK Parkway, Short Hills, NJ  07078, 800-234-3867,
–  Harte Hanks Direct Marketing, List Maintenance, 100 Alco Place, Baltimore, MD 21227-2090, 800-456-9748,
–  Money Mailer, 12131 Western Avenue, Garden Grove, CA 92841, 714-889-1590 
– Utilities, banks, and even insurance companies now all off a paperless option – its less costly for them.  Instead of receiving a chunky statement every month, switch to online access.   That will eliminate the need to organize or eventually shred these statements.

Newspapers and Magazines –  Newsprint is rapidly vanishing anyway, as are printed magazines.   Newspapers and all magazines are now online – it is their future – and the reading experience is even enhanced because they can include better infographics, videos, and relevant links.  Switch to purely internet access either on your computer or tablet.E-Readers Have Arrived!  If you haven’t already done so, FULLY convert to an electronic reader.  Read your news, magazines, ebooks on the same device. There are a lot of rich options on the marketplace

Amazon with it’s popular Kindle (our favorite) );

Barnes and Noble has its impressive, eye-catching line-up of Nooks

Apple has its ever exciting to use line-up of iPads

The Kindle e-readers are completely turnkey and require no set-up or Internet account set-up.  Just turn it on and it’s ready to go to download a book or today’s newspaper.  The amazing part is that books can be downloaded in seconds at substantial savings off the print editions, plus no shipping cost or tax.  Every morning you can have your favorite newspaper on your kitchen table – no more shuffling out on slippery mornings or hauling all that unwanted paper out to the recycling bin.

All these devices are easy on the eyes (unlike a computer screen) and comfortable to hold.

You’ll be overwhelmed with the options.

Check out the Green Blizzard eBook article about how many books you’ll need to purchase electronically for this device to break-even = that’s environmentally speaking!

Read these articles that might be of interest: Carbon Impact of Meats,    Energy Misconceptions,  Recycling,
eBook Readers Carbon Footprint Breakeven,  Why Recycle Paper? and Biodegradable Utensils


About the author

Moose Mosely

Moose, (yes, that's his everyday name - at least as far as we know), writes about all sorts of green living insights. Every minute, every decision we make in our lives has some impact to our personal carbon footprint, and Moose is there to share some insights on its impact and relevance and suggests healthier alternatives.