17 December 2008

New online tool cuts catalog waste

I got an interesting e-mail message from Betsy Scherzer, a public relations person, commenting on catalog waste. She writes, "Michael, in the past two weeks I’ve received five duplicate catalogs from Crate Barrel – not to mention dozens of other duplicate catalogs from other major retailers. While I actually enjoy receiving some catalogs, I HATE seeing the WASTE by sending two in the same day or dozens of duplicates all in a given month."

She suggests an online tool to help ensure that you don't get duplicate copies of catalogs. Retailers can use a new IT solution to prevent duplicate mailings, mis-addressed mailings, and bogus online requests. This tool is Melissa Data's NCOALink SmartMover. This Web service tool lets businesses and mail houses keep customer lists current by matching them to the weekly updated USPS NCOALink change-of-address file.

Betsy also offers some factoids to help keep you awake at night worrying about catalog waste:
  • Over eight million tons of trees are consumed each year in the production of paper catalogs.
  • Nearly half of the planet’s original forest cover is gone today. Forests have effectively disappeared in 25 countries, and another 29 have lost more than 90 percent of their forest cover.
  • Deforestation contributes 20 percent to 25 percent of all carbon pollution, causing global climate change.
  • More than one billion people living in extreme poverty around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods.
  • There are other significant environmental effects from the catalog cycle. The production and disposal of direct mail alone consumes more energy than three million cars.
  • The manufacturing, distribution, collection and disposal of catalogs generates global warming gases as well as air and water pollution. Reducing the number of unwanted catalogs that are mailed will help the environment.
Food for thought as we lug pounds and pounds of paper mail from our mailboxes to our homes.

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