Saturday was the Great American Cleanup, and I spent some time picking up trash with my daughter near the Bel Air mall in Mobile. Most of the trash from this area ultimately ends up in Dog River after a heavy rain, making a mess for area residents. As we picked up the many forms of Styrofoam, plastic and paper, it made me think that one of our biggest problems (besides the fact that people litter!) is that we need to reduce the amount of trash we produce in the first place.
There are two very easy ways you can reduce the amount of paper you receive or produce. One is paperless billing and the other is to opt out of junk mail that comes to your home every day. Paperless billing is relatively easy to do these days. Many creditors and billing agencies offer paperless billing, and all it takes is a trip to their website to find out how to subscribe. You may not think paperless billing makes a big difference, but a recent article on reuters.com states that each household that switches from paper statements to online payments can save 24 square feet of forest each year.
I recently switched to paperless billing for my cable company. Each month, I receive an email with my billing information, and I have now set up automatic withdrawals from my checking account. If you don’t like automatic withdrawals, check with your bank to see if they offer online payments. My bank allows me to set up and pay my bills online, and I rarely ever place a bill in the mail. This online payment system saves me time each month and eliminates the money I would spend on stamps to mail those bills.
A slightly less simple but also effective way to reduce paper is to opt out of junk mail. A recent news report on CBS reported that Americans receive 90 billion pieces of advertising mail every year. Although it’s not as simple to reduce junk mail, two websites can help you for free. CatalogChoice.org and DMAchoice.org both allow you to choose which types of mail you would like to stop receiving and help you through the process. You can opt out of credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers and the many other junk mail to reducing paper and the amount of time you spend sorting through unwanted mail. Although it takes some time and you must follow through to report any unsolicited pieces of mail you continue to receive, it is well worth the time it takes to go through the process.
Take a few minutes to look into these mail-reducing options. They will save pounds of paper, acres of trees, and reduce aggravation at the mailbox. Let’s make a difference, today and every day!