Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against real estate agents. In fact, some of my best friends are real estate agents (Hi! Love you!). But do I really need flyers about every house that’s on the market in my own neighborhood? If I want to know how much Myrtle and Joe down the street are asking for their house, I’ll look in one of the three real estate supplements that are delivered with the community newspaper every week.
And I definitely don’t need fancy brochures and glossy postcards advertising the latest skyscraping condo development downtown. I’m not likely to pack up my husband, two kids, three cats, the contents of my sewing room, 12 bins of Lego, seven (or is it eight?) guitars, a piano, and hundreds of books and move them all to a $2 million dollar condo on the 25th floor of the Shangri-La.
One agent here sends notepads to, I assume, everybody in town. They arrive once a month or so whether we need them or not. The funny thing is that when I saw this woman at a community event last summer, I couldn’t figure out at first why she seemed so familiar. For about 15 minutes I wondered why I associated this complete stranger with the dreaded grocery shopping. Was she a checker? Did she work at the deli counter? Then I got it—her picture was at the top of my shopping list!
Canada Post lets you easily opt out of receiving unaddressed ad mail. I did this recently and the very next day noticed a drastic decrease in the amount of unwanted mail I get. No more flyers, no more menus, no more coupons, no more notepads (which is okay with me—I have a stockpile of them), and no more real estate ads. Child One, who is responsible for emptying the recycling box, has had his workload cut in half.
The founders of the Red Dot Campaign are trying to increase the number of Canadians who know about Canada Post’s Consumer's Choice program. Their website gives instructions on how to opt out—the whole process takes about two minutes:
- Print this letter and fill it out.
- Leave it in your mailbox for your postal carrier.
- Make a little sign for your mailbox that says “No junk mail, please” and has a red dot on it. (The please isn’t strictly required, but I’m a mom, and you know how we are about these things.)
Canada Post’s opt-out program doesn’t deal with addressed junk mail, the kind that comes from being on a gazillion mailing lists. However, if the 67% of Canadians who aren’t interested in unaddressed ads no longer received them, how many fewer trees would we use?
The Red Dot Campaign’s website directs U.S. readers to Forest Ethics, which has information on efforts to get a similar service started in the States.