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New Year’s Resolution: Slim Down…Your Junk Mail
Stopping unwanted catalogs and mail to reduce waste.
By Alex Credgington

MiniMaxIf you’re like most UW employees, you probably receive your fair share of catalogs and junk mail. These unwanted solicitations are a nuisance, but they are also bad for the environment. Whether it’s a catalog of clips or a fax about Fiji, junk mail is waste of natural resources. Did you know you can stop receiving them altogether?

According to the Council on Environmental Quality, 5.6 million tons of catalogs and junk mail end up in the landfill each year. As a university, we have a significant impact on our landfill. UW encourages recycling, but reducing waste is even better. Junk mail travels a great distance to your mailbox, then to your hand for an average of 15 seconds before dropping into your recycle bin. That’s a long trip for such a short life.

“I have worked in a few departments where mail keeps coming in for employees who are no longer affiliated with the UW,” said Ramona Hensrude, an administrative assistant at UW. “Often, the mail is just thrown into the recycling bin without any intervention.”

Since it is nearly impossible for campus mail services to determine whether mail is wanted or not, the individual recipient is in the best position to do something to reduce junk mail.

What you can do:

  1. When you receive an unwanted catalog or other item, call the vendor and asked to be removed from the mailing list. Or, you can remove the mailing label and fax it back to the vendor with your request. You can also do this for unwanted faxes.
  2. Encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  3. When you have the option of receiving an electronic version of a newsletter or catalog, choose to do so.

Taking these extra steps can have a significant impact on our university and our planet. Let’s slim down in the New Year by reducing the junk mail we receive!