Reduce paper waste in your mailbox.
Here’s a practice I’m sure we’re all familiar with: tossing mail straight from the mailbox to the recycling bin. It’s pretty wasteful to have all that paper used without ever being consumed, right? Today’s #DailyRevolution is to reduce your mailbox paper waste by going digital with your billing, unsubscribing from unwanted catalogs, opting out of credit card offers, and saying no to junk mail.
We all know that paper is made from trees -- nearly 4 billion trees worldwide are cut down each year in the name of paper; what is less known is that it also takes a lot of water to produce paper. In fact, it takes more than three gallons of water to make a sheet of paper. Plus, pulp and paper production in the U.S. is the third largest industrial polluter to air, water, and land.
Paper that gets thrown out, after an often short life, accounts for 27% of municipal solid waste, and after the recyclable paper is sorted out the trashed paper accounts for 15% of solid waste in the landfill. And that’s extra bad because rotting paper waste emits methane gas -- one of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. As usual, Americans are some of the worst offenders when it comes to paper consumption and waste. The U.S. has less than 5% of the world’s population and yet we consume 30% of the world’s paper.
So what can you do? Let’s start with your mailbox. These four easy steps will have you on your way to a lighter mailbox and a lighter environmental footprint in no time:
Go digital with your billing. Log into the online accounts for your electricity, gas, phone, and insurance companies, and make sure you’re signed up for paperless billing. You’ll get an email notification when your bill is due.
Unsubscribe to catalogs. Before sending the next unwanted catalog you find in your mailbox to the recycling bin, pop over to catalogchoice.org. Once you’ve set up an account and profile you’ll be just one click away from cutting unwanted catalogs out of your life.
Opt out of credit card offers. On the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website, you can chose to opt out of receiving credit or insurance preapprovals that are not initiated by you.
Cancel junk mail. If you really want to go all in, you can register at DMAchoice.org and pay a $2 processing fee for 10 years of mail management.
Use It and Lose It: The Outsize Effect of U.S. Consumption on the Environment - Scientific American