Oversized catalog delivery upsets customers and environmentalists



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Posted on June 17, 2014 at 11:33 PM

It's a delivery twice as heavy as one from the stork.  Seattle's Russ Robertson says he is the unlucky father of the 15-pound Restoration Hardware catalogs.

“What a waste to be shipping this much paper and this much catalogs to presumably everyone on their mailing list,” said Robertson.

Robertson said he probably bought something from the store, but didn't ask for the library to be sent to his doorstep.

“I don't know who would want this.  Who has six inches on a bookshelf reserved for their Restoration Catalogs just in case they want to order something?” inquired Robertson.

Tom Watson from King County Recycling and Environmental Services told me that marketers mailed 11.9 billion catalogs in the U.S. last year alone.  But this latest bundle ups the game.

“It's a climate change issue, it's a waste and resources issue,” explained Watson.

But wait. The company touts its commitment to the environment saying the books are only mailed once a year. The paper is “forest certified” and the furniture maker has collaborated with UPS to ensure that shipping is carbon neutral.

“They say that makes it greener to have it all in one package, but it's just too many,” said Watson.  “Unwanted mail is waste.   Some people want one catalog.   I think very few people want this many catalogs at one time.”

According to King County, 42,000 tons of recyclable paper goes into the Cedar Hills landfill every year.  A significant portion of this consists of catalogs and other junk mail.

“I'm sure for everyone person that appreciated this and put it under their coffee table, there's a thousand people like me who threw it straight into the landfill or the recycle bin,” explained Robertson.

You can stop the catalog barrage by registering with the website www.catalogchoice.org.  It's a service that will contact companies to help you opt-out of the deliveries.