Dear Dot: How can I stop the onslaught of catalogs?



Dear Dot,

Can you help me figure out how to stop all the catalogs I get in the mail? A terrible waste of paper!  

–Virginia, Santa Barbara

Dear Virginia,

It can feel like something of a mystery in our digital age how catalogs have not only refused to die but continue to pile up through our mail slots, often unbidden. After all, a marketing email costs mere pennies to send while full-color catalogs can cost 100 times that. But the Harvard Business Review reported in 2020 that catalogs had been growing in popularity since 2015. Companies continue to send catalogs because they work. We spend more when we purchase from a catalog and we are more likely to make repeat purchases. What’s more, unrequested marketing emails are often filtered-out spam while unrequested catalogs will be delivered to us via the USPS, which is obliged to do so as long as the catalogs have the proper postage.

All of which is to say, Virginia, that catalogs seem here to stay — 5.6 million tons of catalogs and other direct mail advertisements that end up in U.S. landfills annually — but that’s not the same as saying there aren’t steps to ensure that we don’t become buried beneath the full-color pages of Restoration Hardware or L.L. Bean. 

You can blame a company named Abacus for putting your name on mailing lists so, to opt out, go to its parent company Epsilon’s website or call Epsilon at 1-866-267-3861. 

You can also log on to the non-profit Catalog Choice, which gives you the option to cancel specific catalogs (and other pieces of junk mail) for free. 

In order to ensure you don’t wind up back on a bunch of companies’ mailing lists, stick to shopping in person at stores owned and operated by locals. The money you spend there stays in your community and you contribute to a thriving local marketplace made up of often unique products. 

And if, when you’re paying for your items, a pleasant salesclerk asks if you’d like to be put on their mailing list, make sure it’s a digital one before you enthusiastically agree. 



Got a question for Dot? Let her know here:

    - Advertisement -spot_img

    Latest Stories

    Good Libations: Sipping on Seedlip

    With trends like dry (or damp) January popularizing consumer experimentation in the realm of non-alcoholic cocktails,...

    A San Diego Coffee Roastery Delivers a Delicious Cuppa Using Solar Power and an Electric Mini Cooper

    Behind a house in sunny San Diego sits a 70 square-foot shed. If passersby were to...

    RECIPE: Home-style Fried Rice with Vegetables

    I've eaten plenty of fried rice — some good, some a little greasy, some overly salty....

    Good News: Australia’s Biodiversity Credits Aim to Support Farmers and Conservation

    Australia is launching a program to reward landholders for conducting biodiversity-enhancing projects, Bloomberg News reports. The...

    RECIPE: Grapefruit Gin(ger) Fizz

    Grapefruit Gin(ger) Fizz Serves 1 All it takes to whip up this Dry January treat is tangy grapefruit...

    A Joyous (Dry) January Celebration + Recipe

    If you’re joining the legions trying Dry January, you don’t have to give up celebrating special...
    Dear Dot
    Dear Dot
    Dear Dot is here to answer all your sustainable living questions from her perch on the porch. Got a question for Dot? Send her a note for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue.

    Read More

    Related Articles


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here