One Million Users: September 10, 2008

Catalog Choice hit a milestone this morning with its one millionth user! Started in November 2007 by the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation and the Ecology Center, the website offers a free way for merchants and consumers to cut down the amount of unwanted mail-order catalogs. The project is sponsored by The Overbrook Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, and the Kendeda Fund. The service has come a long way, as it worked to improve the site and gain the trust of both consumers and merchants. Responses from users and catalog companies have been great, as they have given us helpful feedback to provide the best service. Thanks to users, merchants, media press and outreach, there are currently about 300 participating merchants, including some of the largest mail-order companies in the nation.

So what's the big deal? Well, each year 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers. According to the Environmental Defense Fund's Paper Calculator, the yearly distribution of catalogs is equal to 53 million trees to make 3.6 million tons of paper. Energy used to produce this volume of paper is 3.8 trillion BTUs, enough to power 1.2 million homes per year. Its contribution to global warming is 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to the annual emissions of two million cars. Finally, waste water discharges are equal to 53 billion gallons, enough to fill 81,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Imagine how much of that impact is wasted when catalogs are immediately tossed into the recycling bin or trash (gasp).

Catalog Choice continues to cut down the amount of unnecessary impact produced by unwanted catalogs. And with one million users opting out of over 13 million catalogs, we seem to be moving in the right direction! The website hopes to celebrate the millionth member with a guest appearance on the blog, if that person so chooses. Catalog Choice sends the following message on its blog site:

What continues to inspire us is how fast we reached a million members. But it is not a mystery - it is due to lots of hard work by everyone involved.

  1. It is our easy to use solution designed by our killer development team.
  2. It is a result of hard work by our partner organizations, NWF, NRDC and the Ecology Center, who have help spread the word to the media.
  3. It is a thanks to so many of our members who used our Invite a Friend feature to invite over 435,000 friends.
  4. It is thanks to our dedicated readers of the blog who jump into the comment section to answer questions and clarify the facts about the confusing process of honoring mail preference requests.
  5. It is the power of social media and citizen bloggers that has helped spread the word to so many Americans and driven our natural search result to the #2 spot on Google’s list.
  6. It is because hundreds of merchants have been open to accepting our mail preference requests in a secure and automated fashion. I know the “Bravo Merchants” will appreciate your support this holiday season.
  7. Most of all, it is because no one wants to waste time, money or natural resources; and that is what Catalog Choice aims to accomplish for consumers, merchants and the environment.

Congratulations and keep up the good work!