Relief from unwanted catalogs

March 12, 2008 3:17:46 PM PDT
Even with the holidays long over, your mailbox is probably stuffed with catalogs. Well now there's a way to get rid of them. Michael Finney explains how.

7 On Your Side gets a lot of complaints about catalogs and the environmental damage they do. Getting rid of the ones you don't want to receive is a tough task, but there's a new Web site that can help you do away with a lot of that clutter.

Ever wonder where that Pottery Barn catalog goes once it leaves your house? The lucky ones end up at a recycling center, like at Berkeley's Ecology Center.

All of the catalogs there are being recycled, which is good, but it sure is a lot of work for catalogs that were never wanted in the first place.

"I got a brand new one I had never heard of just the other day. I don't understand why," says Martin Bourque, executive director of the Ecology Center.

Catalogs are easy to get, but hard to get rid of.

"Well, I've actually corresponded with the sender and said please don't send them any more catalogs," says Borque.

It is a Herculean task going after a pile like this, one catalog at a time, and not just for the consumer.

"[It's] a real problem for the direct mail industry as a whole. They should be mailing to people who want these catalogs and use these catalogs for a method of shopping, says Bourque.

To help consumers get rid of unwanted catalogs, Bourque's organization set up a Web site called

"It is very easy to use. People can get in and out and get their catalogs signed up on there very quickly, in and out," says Borque.

Michael Finney tested the service and he says it's fast and would take no more than 10 minute to decline every catalog you get. The best part is that the service is free.

Keep in mind though, not every catalog company participates.

Check it out for yourself: