Every now and then you run across an idea that is so brilliant, you hope the inventors win a Nobel prize. These are usually things that are:
1) very simple
2) very useful
While we hope that Loanables matches these criteria, I am actually writing about Catalog Choice, a service that I discovered a couple of months ago. This free service allows you to register catalogs that you no longer wish to receive. Catalog Choice will contact the merchants and inform them of your desire to not receive their catalogs. The site reports that in 2005, over 19 billion catalogs were sent out to U.S. consumers! Think about the enormous resources involved in creating, printing, and distributing those catalogs!
Personally, I don't need catalogs anymore -- I use the internet for all at-home shopping. And yet dozens of companies insist on shoving their catalogs into my face each week. I used to call them up and unsubscribe, but somehow I get back on their lists (without even buying anything or opting in.) While Catalog Choice hasn't eliminated all of my mailings, I've definitely noticed some reduction. And they make it easy to report companies who continue to send catalogs even after you have unsubscribed.
In addition to the environmental impact, I have another reason for not wanting all of those catalogs. We have one of those community mailbox stations, where our box is only about 6" by 6" large. It only takes a few catalogs to fill that up, and then your important mail has to be stored at the post office for pickup. What a pain!
You can see a list of all merchants who have begun taking data feeds from Catalog Choice here: http://www.catalogchoice.org/pages/merchants. I certainly hope others will follow their lead and end the wastefulness of unwanted catalogs. Go check out Catalog Choice and see how easy it is to use. And tell your friends!