I've written about how useful I find Catalog Choice, a tool from the environmental group The Story of Stuff Project, several times in the past. The website allows you to opt out of various types of junk mail — and the holiday season is one time of year when we could all use some help on that front.
The company has nearly 10,000 titles in its database that range from catalogs, credit card offers, donation requests and coupons. They can also cancel mailings for previous occupants of your home or a deceased family member. In the past eight years, Catalog Choice has helped over 2 million users and processed more than 640,000 opt-outs.
The service benefits people, but also the environment. "According to calculations by Catalog Choice and the Environmental Paper Network, these opt-outs correspond with an estimated savings or diversion of 70 million gallons of water, 8.5 million pounds of waste, and over 20 million pounds of CO2," the company wrote in a press release.
"Junk mail is a huge waste of our natural resources and our time," explained Brett Chamberlin, program manager for The Story of Stuff Project. "It is vital we recognize our contributions toward global waste and the dramatic impact it has on protecting our environment. Catalog Choice is a tool that not only allows us to cut back on a massive and unnecessary stream of paper waste, but also simplifies our lives by getting rid of already unwanted junk mail."
Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in December 2011.