For such a digital society, we sure still seem to wind up with a lot of paper in our houses. I don’t know about your house, but we’ve had to do some work to keep down the piles of various papers. But there is hope! Here are some of the ways we have managed to reduce our paper load.
Barring the Gates - Don’t Let it In
1) Say no to newsprint: instead use on-line news and flyers. Kris is more of a news hound than I am. He prefers reading news from multiple sources - often ones which don’t do print versions any ways.
Of the two of us, I am the flyer hound, but rather than getting 20 printed ones that I don’t want and 2 that I do, I opted our household out of printed flyers. That’s right - if you say no, they can’t deliver. Unfortunately it is not as simple as a ‘no flyer’ sticker on your mail box. You need to call whoever is your flyer distributor (in Saskatoon it is the StarPhoenix) and have your address taken off the flyer delivery route. Then just sign up online for e-mail versions of the flyers you actually want.
Admail is a little harder to get out of. Canada Post will respect a ‘no admail’ sticker, but that only applies to admail with no specific address on it. It also means you won’t get things like municipal notices and calendars. Canada Post is legally required to deliver addressed admail - so those you have to get out of one by one, and/or through the Canadian Marketing Association’s Do Not Contact service (but even that takes six weeks to kick in and only lasts for three years).
2) Skip the paper bills: receive or retrieve your bills electronically and pay the same way. Admittedly I don’t have all of my bills switched over yet, but the Canada Post strike a while back was good incentive to get some of them moved over. Now that I have finally figured out a good digital filing and record keeping solution I have no excuses...
3) Say no to receipts: if you don’t need it, don’t take it! We only keep receipts for anything with a warranty or that we may need to return. An example of an easy one to skip is ATM receipts.
Corralling What’s Left
We keep a recycling bin just for paper in our porch right by our front door. All the unaddressed admail and large paper items have somewhere to wait to be recycled, and it’s not in the house!
Small stuff goes in one of two places: a) the ‘to be shredded’ bin by the desk (i.e. anything with sensitive info, like those stupid travelers cheques that the credit card companies send) or b) our ‘multi-material’ crate under the sink for things like toilet paper rolls, packaging and used envelopes.
In April our neighbourhood in Saskatoon is slated to get our blue curbside carts. I’m very excited!