June 10, 2023

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

With Thanksgiving over and some of us still recovering from the craziness of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Two-For-One Tuesday, Warehouse Blowout Wednesday (OK, I admit, I may have made some of these titles up….), this is the time of the season where we inevitably start thinking about mail more often than we usually do.  Sending out and receiving holiday cards, heading to the Post Office on your lunch break to mail gifts, wondering if your nieces and nephews will get their presents in time for Christmas, anxiously looking out the window for the mail carrier wondering where YOUR present is…we tend to start thinking a bit more about “the mail” than we usually do around this time of year.

So with mail on our minds, do you know how much UNWANTED mail we receive each year?    There are estimates that the U.S. Postal Service sends out approximately 90 billion pieces of unsolicited mail/advertising every year.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 44% of this mail is tossed away, unopened.  So maybe we should take a moment to think about the junk mail we receive in our own offices.  Do you continually receive mail addressed to former employees?  Catalogs or newsletters from companies that have no relevance to your department?  Advertisements for products and services that you have absolutely no interest in?  There are services out there (http://www.catalogchoice.org, http://ecocycle.org/junkmail, http://www.greendimes.com, and many others) that you can look into to help reduce the amount of unsolicited mail that you receive from companies .  But perhaps the most effective and simplest way to stop getting these items might be to contact the customer service telephone number or send an e-mail to the company’s website and request to be taken off of their mailing list.  Companies likely have no more interest in sending unwanted mail to you than you have in receiving it.  Spending the few minutes it takes to make a phone call or send out an email seems well worth the time, energy, and waste involved with continually receiving and disposing of unwanted mail.  In addition to the obvious waste of paper, think of all the energy needed to haul away all of this unnecessary mail each year.   It’s also important to consider how to go about reducing the amount of junk mail that you receive at home.  If you want to reduce the volume of unsolicited mail you receive in your own home, Direct Marketing Association (http://www.dmachoice.org) is a free service that helps you manage your mail preferences to reduce the likelihood of receiving mailings from companies/services that you have no interest in.

Hopefully this week’s entry has given you something to think about the next time you open up your mailbox and curiously find a three pound catalog from a North Dakota Soy Candle company (no offense intended towards soy candles OR North Dakota).    If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the idea to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.

The PCS Action Group members for the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” are Kevin Caffrey, Elizabeth Sanders, Robert Louzek, and Dre Anthes.

Last week’s tip of the week: Green Thanksgiving



About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.