Environment
3:50 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

How to Opt Out of Receiving Phone Books and Junk Mail

It’s often remarked that in the Internet age, the phone book is obsolete. And now, with a few keystrokes, Austinites can opt out of receiving them.

Austin Resource Recovery has partnered with the nonprofit organization Catalog Choice to offer a registry where citizens can elect to stop receiving phone books and certain types of junk mail – the dead-tree version of a “Do Not Call” list. You can register at https://austin.catalogchoice.org.

Aside from the environmental impact, the city notes the cost savings it may realize from saving on cleanup of unwanted litter. “More than 100 billion pieces of unsolicited mail are received by Americans each year—and municipalities foot the bill for waste collection and disposal,” the city notes in a release announcing the initiative.

This author just signed up for the service – which was somewhat confusing, as it required creating accounts with some of the phone book publishers and distributors. Some made it easier than others to opt out. But Catalog Choice did provide an email address and message to send them, requesting they “Please remove the following name and address from your postal mailing list." 

And naturally, some confirmations arrived with disclaimers that the opt-out process can take a little while. So how does it work?  We'll fill you in in eight to 12 weeks. 

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