This week I have been keeping an eye on my junk mail. After seeing all those plastic windows from junk mail envelopes on Beth Terry's plastic video I can't help it. Junk mail is a hugely wasteful practice and it is so unnecessary. I don't want that junk mail, do you? The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. Thankfully, there are things we can do to stop the waste and say no to junk mail.
1. Think twice before giving out information
Typically, you receive junk mail because someone, somewhere has sold or given your name and address to a marketing company or other businesses. When you give out personal information and have it entered into a database (such as when you apply for a library card, mail forwarding service, or credit card), request that the organization does not share your personal information with anyone.
Also in this category of informational caution are product registration cards, sweepstakes, raffles, and contests. The chances of winning these are actually tiny. What they really want is your address so they can sell it.
2. Don't let them follow you
If you move, don't fill out a change of address form at the post office. Just contact your friends, colleagues, and respectable businesses personally and let them know of your move. Otherwise, the junk mail will start showing up at your new residence shortly.
3. Send it back to them
Hehe… when I used to pay bills via check and envelope I would stuff the wasteful little fliers they put in with the bill and any junk mail they sent inside the provided envelope along with the paid bill. I figured they were responsible for getting rid of their own waste. Now that I pay all bills online I don't get to do that anymore. With other junk mailings that have return addresses I have also put Return to Sender and then stuck it back in the mail.
4. Have your information removed from mailing lists
You can contact the major marketers (such as the Direct Marketing Association) yourself, or save time and have someone else do the legwork for you. An organization that specializes in such help is 41pounds.org. For $41, or a little over $8 a year, 41pounds.org will remove your name from mailing lists for five years. When you get junk mail look for a number to call and ask that they stop sending you further mailings AND not sell your address to anyone.
Do you have a tip to share for reducing the volume of unwanted mail?
I just had to post about this amazing video I saw from Beth at My Plastic Free Life. It really shows how ANYONE can stop using and buying so much plastic. If Beth can do it (without any known superpowers) than surely we can to. It sure as heck motivated me to try even harder! Enjoy!
I have fallen in love with a new reusable bag. This one is more like a bag/basket hybrid and ever since I got one last month I have been using it non-stop. They are polyester bags (wish they were canvas), on an aluminum frame. Mine has an attached cover that zips around it to enclose the basket. It is super light too.
Here are some of the things I have already used it for:
Shopping the produce isles at the supermarket
Shopping at farmer’s markets
Using it to hold books at the library
Packing lunches for the zoo or a picnic
Holding towels and sunscreen at the public pool
Cleaning out miscellaneous junk from the car
Holding my other reusable bags in the trunk
Holding takeout so I don’t have to take a plastic bag home
I used to work in marketing and advertising and we printed a TON. We printed brochures, fliers, newsletters, direct mail, and all that jazz. Then of course we ordered out for some printing jobs too…like stationary and business cards. I used to go through 200 business cards a week sometimes. It amazes me know wasteful it all was. We had office challenges to find ways to cut spending but no challenges to green our office…I should email them and see if things have changed, LOL.
Nowadays there are green printing companies you can patronize for business cards, fliers, brochure printing, etc. I don’t have a need for any of that anymore but if I did I am so happy there are options. I would be sitting my old boss down and telling her we needed to go green with our printing and I’d be talking about how we could market this to attract conscious clientele and offset costs.
PSPrint is an environmentally conscious printing company that prints business cards, custom stickers, custom postcards, custom greeting cards, posters and more. They recycle all wasted paper and used soy based ink that emit fewer volatile organic compounds than petroleum inks. They are also involved with or members of several eco-friendly organizations. Now if only we could get more businesses on board with this!
Two years ago…even last year, I would have defended my meat loving ways until the cows came home. ;) But as I go further along in this great green journey it gets harder and harder for me to justify eating meat. The statistics for environmental devastation just get more and more depressing. The meat eating habit is killing this planet and I think it is time for more green folks to own up to that instead of treat it like the elephant in the room that everyone wants to ignore.
Just look at some of these scary statistics:
The US imports 200 million pounds of beef from Central America every year and much of the land used is rain forest land. For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rain forest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed. Ouch! Rain forests are like the lungs of this planet and they house many different species of animals and could contain life saving medicinal plants. As a society though we have decided that meat is more important than our rain forests. As one man who lives in my small town said, “We don’t have a rain forests in the US so who cares.” We should all care that American dietary “needs” are destroying another part of the planet.
One pound of beef requires an input of approximately 2500 gallons of water, whereas a pound of soy requires 250 gallons of water and a pound of wheat only 25 gallons. With more than one billion people worldwide who “lack enough safe water to meet minimum levels of health” our meat eating/water guzzling ways should bother us. Source
Waste run-off and pesticide run-off from livestock crops create dead zones in our oceans where fish and marine plant life can’t live anymore.
Certain fishing practices endanger many fish species and result in overfishing that results in an imbalance of marine ecosystems.
To produce one pound of meat, an animal needs to consume as much a 10 pounds of grains that could be consumed directly by humans. Imagine how many people around the world we could feed if we stopped giving the bulk of it to livestock that will in turn feed just a few. We are literally living high off the hog while other countries are starving.
1.4 billion tons of solid fecal matter is produced by US farm animals per year and it is often left outside in open pits or pools that seep into groundwater, lakes and rivers. Because the animals are often diseased, and injected with hormones and antibiotics this renders their waste toxic and not suitable for fertilizing crops.
Livestock are responsible for over half of the country’s erosion and sediment issues. They are destroying the land they graze upon and rendering it useless for growing.
The global livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined. Yes we should feel good about our decision to bike instead of drive or use LED light bulbs but when we eat meat with every meal we are cancelling out the good we did in other areas.
This doesn’t even begin to cover the health issues we experience as a result of eating meat..for that side of the debate read my post over at Goddess of the Garden, Why Meat Consumption Is Bad for Your Health.
So should we all go vegan or vegetarian? Well, you certainly could…I know I lean more in that direction every day but in actuality you don’t need to go quite that far. I love this post from Green Living Tips that shares a plan to only eat 3 meat meals a week. Many of us were raised in homes where meat was the centerpiece of every meal but it doesn’t have to be. Meatless meals are making a comeback. Try to make it goal to only eat meat 3-4 times a week and go veggie the other nights. Slowly work toward that goal if you have to.
Cutting down or cutting out meat is a win-win-win situation. It helps in the fight against global warming, and environmental destruction and it’s good for you. Not to mention all of the animal cruelty issues it brings up. Watch a couple videos along those lines and you just might find the inspiration you need. If you do eat meat, it is soooo important that it be organic and raised by small scale ethical farmers. Same for other animal products like cheese and milk. But that kind of meat is expensive so factory farmed “cheap” meat is what most people buy. The video below illustrates what you are supporting when you buy that meat. It is graphic but if if you eat meat…you need to watch it.