Thursday, December 18, 2008

Is There Such A Thing As Eco-Friendly Junk Mail?

Ever wondered who might actually be eco-friendly with your junk mail? Maybe not. But ForestEthics, an environmental organization that takes action to protect endangered forests, does. The non-profit has released its 3rd Annual Catalog Environmental Scorecard. Among the winners for responsible use of paper in the printing of their catalogs --
  • Crate & Barrel -- put into place a new policy this year that the company would stay out of endangered forests; says the company “good business practices and good environmental practices need not be mutually exclusive."

  • Timberland -- phasing out paper catalog and going solely online; ForestEthics notes that junk mail's contribution to climate change equals emissions of nine million cars or the emissions generated by heating nearly 13 million homes for the winter

  • Bloomingdales -- also ending its paper catalog and will just be online

  • Patagonia -- has the highest post-consumer waste recycled content compared to all catalog mailers

  • Dell -- has taken significant action in using recycled content in its catalogs, including FSC certification; FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council. The FSC is a certifier of responsibly managed forests. It is not the only certifier, but it is the one that ForestEthics is focusing on.

  • Victoria's Secret -- has been involved with ForestEthics for a long time and prints on FSC certified, recycled paper

  • REI -- same types of policies as Victoria's Secret

  • Williams-Sonoma -- also seeks FSC certification with its catalog paper, along with paper reduction and recycled paper

The scorecard also lists companies with catalogs that could be doing better. If you find a "naughty" company on that list, you can opt to shop online (if available) instead and cancel the catalog delivery.

As a final note, if you are getting catalogs that you never order from -- take a 15 minutes during your lunchbreak to call the customer service number and stop delivery.

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