Summer is in full swing with all the familiar sights and sounds, including this year's crop of phone books in yellow plastic bags that sprout up next to area mailboxes. But each year more and more phone books go unused and unwanted—that's a lot of wasted water, paper and energy that all too often ends up as roadside litter.
Wouldn't it be great if you could clear out the clutter in and around your mailbox? With just a few clicks of the computer mouse, you too can get green and reduce waste by opting out of receiving phone books and other junk mail.
- Opt out of phone books: Eliminating several phone books at once is as simple as going to www.YellowPagesOptOut.com. Once you create an account, you can click on the local directories that you no longer wish to receive. Be sure to share this tip with your neighbors as well.
- Opt out of catalogs: Catalog Choice offers a quick and easy way to opt out of catalog mailings. Just go to www.CatalogChoice.org to set up an account. Once you receive your password via e-mail, you can browse by catalog names from the huge list and start deleting. The program is offered by the Ecology Center, a California-based organization that promotes sustainable living.
- Opt out of "junk mail" and marketing mail lists: A good way to remove your name from several national mailing lists at once is to sign up for the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service at www.DMAchoice.org. This website provides instructions on how to register online or via U.S. mail. This service is only for national mailing lists (not local) and only for residential addresses (not business addresses). The service is good for five years.
If you receive a phone book or see unused and unwanted phone books in your neighborhood, don't let them become litter—the phone books are recyclable in your curbside bin, but be sure to remove the plastic bag first.
For more waste prevention ideas, visit www.ThurstonSolidWaste.org