Friday, November 30, 2007

Wanting less - a junk mail junkie goes cold turkey

I've been reading a lot of green blogs and books lately (see the sidebar under Zero is the New Black) and I am, as my dead grandmother would say, Taking Steps.

I love junk mail, truly I do. I read catalogues from beginning to end. I love the bright, shiny, happy, better me they promise if only I'd buy their goods. One of the first things I did when I moved into this house was remove the "No Junk Mail" sticker from the letter box.

I sign up for paper and email catalogues whenever I can. I love getting the mail. It's all a sham of course, and we know it, but it's so easy to buy into and a girl can dream. But the dream's promise is hollow.

This stuff is so pervasive I maintain a HUGE collection of it at work as a document of our community in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

So, in order to tackle my own consumerism, I'm cutting back on the advertising that comes into my home.

It is no trivial thing for me to be doing this. It cuts to so many aspects of my life that are important, like a fantasy self-image, love of a bargain, love of research (I need all the information all the time to make informed choices) and collection building, both at home and at work. Hell, this is cultural - brand knowledge is cultural knowledge in our community. Think about the brand names we use as nouns - Kleenex, Hoover, Esky, Tampax.

Steps Taken

1. Registration on the Federal Government managed 'Do not Call register'. OK, so I never buy from cold-callers so it doesn't affect my consumerism, but it will, hopefully, make me less anxious of answering the telephone and able to better enjoy my time at home.

2. Request for a "No Advertising Material" sticker from the The Australian Catalogue Association and asked them to put me on their register of banned addresses.

3. Registration with the Australian Direct Marketing Authority "Do Not Call, Do Not Mail" list. My name will be ciruclated to list brokers who will take my name off their list.

4. As catalogues come in, I am requesting removal from mailing lists.

A bonus benefit will be a very small reduction in carbon emissions. No transport, no plastic wrappers, fewer catalogues. Of course it's only small if one person does it, but I've registered the parents for all of these as well - so that's 3 of us this week.

Image from here.


Donna Lee said...

I think that is a great idea. I am going to find the organization here in the states and get my name taken off catalog lists. I realized that I have stopped reading the catalogs that once I read over and over. Now, I put them right into the recycling pile. What a waste.

Olivia said...

I should do this. There are a few that I really like to go through but more than half go straight into the recycling bin. I have tried to come up with craft projects using the shiny colour-photo catalog paper!

I reckon you won't miss them when they're gone. More time to read knitting mags and, if you're like me, all the other reading material that builds up around the house.

Michelle said...

I've had a junk mail sticker on my letter box since about October 2006 - I had two months of very absorbing junk mail but we decided enough was enough. We hadn't received any junk mail for 10 years at the old house. It was getting beyond the ridiculous and I had to remind myself that I am a dyed in the wool greenie.

I only occasionally miss it. Mr QM misses the Bras and Things catalogue, but that's it. We'll have to change our sticker to "extcept The Chronicle" becuase we really miss that and for some reason the Chronicle delivers consider in junk (we don't).

Good lukc with your efforts!

Michelle said...

Sorry about the typos!

Taphophile said...

I tried knitting with torn and cut long strips of glossy junk mail - thought it would make a suitable waste paper basket. ;) It didn't work - the paper kept ripping. I have seen bowls made from catalogues and jewelry, but it seems an awful lot of work in order to keep receiving unnecessary paper.

I'm sorry that Mr QM is missing his soft-porn, though!

Georgie said...

Good on you Taph - as a fellow junkmail junkie, ahem, chronic researcher, I know how hard it must be ;-) For some strage reason we barely get any here - many once or twice a month for stores not even in our area!

Kate (Kiss My Frog) said...

We at Casa de Frog are far beyond brand names as nouns; my boys have coined the verb "to Hoove"! After all, if it's a Hoover, one must Hoove with it, mustn't one? (Despite the fact that it's actually a Miele).
Don't hold your breath for the Do Not Call register to do much good: we signed up for that the first day it was available, but I haven't noticed much of a drop-off in the number of calls I get from guys named "Brian" or "David" with a strong sub-continental accent, trying to flog phone/internet/pay tv packages.

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

I'm tempted to use the avertising phrase from a certain tea company regarding the Clean Calgary Association...but I won't.

I don't get much junk mail at all aside from grocery store flyers which I do want. As for phone calls, I usually don't get many of those either and even then, I just hang up.

We are constantly bombarded with this, buy that. It makes me sick. The teen is starting to get sucked into that trap as she sees all the things that her friends have. She doesn't even take care of the stuff she has now. So why would I want to get her even more stuff.

Better stop now, I'm begining to rant.

Petunia said...

I am not too sorely tempted by catalogs. I have a very, very few that I'll buy from, and I ignore the rest. It's the damn clutter that annoys me. The amount of junk mail I throw out every week is amazing!

Kate said...

We've the no junk mail sticker and now that we're down to one income I need to know what's on special and where - but still manage to dodge daft computer catalogues. Solution: I go the rounds of the stupidmarkets picking up their catalogues, settle for a cuppa at a cafe to find out what's on special where before I begin the shopping marathon. (H.I. has Tilly for the morning for some quality D&D time.)(that's dad and daughter time, not Dungeons and Dragons. I'm sure that will come later...)

Clayton said...

UnlistAssist (dot) com is a company that will remove your name from 40 online databases for up to 3 years at a time. With UnlistAssist's services you will see a decrease in junk mail and your personal privacy will be protected from things like identity. You ought to check out UnlistAssist on the web.

The Shopping Sherpa said...

Happy to let you leaf through my supply any time you need - in fact I have a three week pile sitting on the kitchen dresser downstairs to be dealt with if you'd like them...


NessaKnits said...

I'm blog surfing. I use for catalogue surfing.