Four Southern California areas have joined Chicago, Seattle and a growing roster of other cities working with Catalog Choice to cut the junk from residents' mail. Last week Santa Monica, Redlands and areas served by the Costa Mesa Sanitation District partnered with the Berkeley-based junk-mail opt-out service to help residents stop unwanted catalogs, phone books, coupons, circulars, credit card offers and other unsolicited mail before it's sent. Pasadena will launch in April. [Updated Feb. 16, 2012, 2:15 p.m.: The original version of this post said Pasadena's partnership with Catalog Choice launched last week.]
Each city was given a dedicated website to connect residents to the Catalog Choice program. Such links have more than doubled junk mail opt-outs in Berkeley; Santa Fe, N.M.; Brookline, Mass.; and other cities where the program has been in place since launching last year, according to Catalog Choice founder Chuck Teller.
"The participation rate is what we're trying to drive," Teller said. In the slogan "reduce, reuse, recycle, reduce," he said, "reduce is the Holy Grail. Recycling is not good enough because it costs a lot of energy and it doesn't all get recycled."
Each household that stops junk mail can save a city $10 in disposal costs annually, Teller said.
Since Santa Monica added a link to the junk mail opt-out service to its website on Feb. 6, 83 of its 89,000 residents have signed up. That may sound insignificant, but "it's about 1,500 pounds of paper that we have saved in just those 83 residents," said Kim Braun, resource recovery and recycling manager for the city of Santa Monica.
-- Susan Carpenter
Photo: A U.S. Postal Service truck delivers mail. Four Southern California areas are working with Catalog Choice to cut the junk from residents' mail. Credit: Allen Schaben / Los Angeles Times