NOVEMBER 2011

Free opt-out service for unwanted advertising mail

Ecomaine, a nonprofit municipally-owned recycling and waste disposal operation, has announced a free opt-out service for unwanted advertising mail and phone books. Though any resident and business can participate, ecomaine has created a dedicated website for its 43 communities; they can register on-line at http://ecomaine.catalochoice.org or through a link at www.ecomaine.org for the Catalog Choice program to stop deliveries of specific unwanted catalogs, coupons, credit card solicitations, and other advertising mail from more than 3,000 companies.

City of Portland director of public services Michael Bobinsky, chairman of the ecomaine board of directors, explained that, “Although recycling is good, reducing waste is even better. The reduction of unwanted advertising mail helps all participating municipalities reduce costs associated with solid waste and saves natural resources, as well.”

“Junk mail doesn’t just take up valuable space in our schedules and our mailboxes but in our landfills as well, with nearly half of the estimated 100 billion pieces of junk mail Americans receive each year going to our landfills unopened,” said Ron Dyer, director of the Bureau of Remediation & Waste Management at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. “If just 10 percent of the households in ecomaine’s 43 communities sign up for this service, each year we would see more than 12 million pieces of junk mail stopped at the source and prevent 1.3 million pounds of paper from overwhelming our landfills.”

According to Catalog Choice, also a nonprofit corporation, on average an American household receives 900 pieces of advertising mail each year, which weigh a total of 100 lbs. They report that 1.4 million households and businesses around the country have already registered and that Catalog Choice has processed more than 20 million opt-out choices.