I have a love/hate relationship with paper. I love magazines and books. But I hate HATE junk mail, paper bills, bank statements, receipts. Ugg! I can't keep papers organized. I just get huge piles of papers all over my room. It's like living in a tree graveyard!
So I decided it was time to go paperless! Here's how I am doing it:
Step 1: Bring my own bags to stores. Grocery stores have been good about this for a while and now more and more retail stores are encouraging this. I was super impressed when I went to Anthropologie the other day and they donated 10 cents if you didn't take a bag. This has gone a long way in a few years. I used to get a lot of confusion and weird looks from store clerks when I wanted to use my own bag.
Step 2: Canceled all my catalogs (except Anthropologie because its to pretty and I want it) This is more difficult than it should be. Most you need the number from the back of the catalog. When I asked to be removed from their lists I also included a note stating my disappointment in the company's wastefulness by sending catalogs to people who did not request them. Most of them just responded telling me they needed more information before they could remove me from their lists. UGG!
Step 3: Signed up for Catalog Choice and Bay Area Junk Mail Reduction and stopped credit card offers. Have you noticed that environmental organizations are some of the worse junk mail offenders. I can't tell you how much crap I get from WWF and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Step 4: Purchased Scan Snap to digitize all important documents. Everyone tells me I should also by a shredder if I am going to be getting rid of all my paper documents. This made me wonder can I recycled shredded paper? Turns out the answer is maybe, but its better to avoid shredding it if you can. Here are some good tips on how to deal with shredded paper if your community recycling cannot process it. I also wondered, can I throw away receipts? Will a store take a copy of a receipt for a return? I feel like it would end up being a problem at most stores? Does anyone have any input on this? Has anyone tried it? What about a digital receipt on your phone? I am sure it's something all the stores will be doing in a few years. Apple does it now. They don't even give you a printed receipt if you don't want one. It's great! I hope more companies will do the same soon! For now I guess I am stuck saving receipts.***
Step 5: Call all my banks and make them stop sending me checks and offers in the mail. For some reason banks seem to be the most difficult and make you call them to stop getting crap from them. I hate those stupid checks they've always send you. I've procrastinated on this one for way to long because I hate making phone calls. But I finally took care of it!!!
Step 6: Stop Getting Phonebooks: Ooh lucky me! I live in in San Francisco, the first city to change phone books to an opt-in program. Yay for San Fran.
Step 7: Purchase Kindle and/or iPhone to read magazines and books. I don't know if I am ready to go here yet. I still love paper books. And used books are cheaper than buying books on Kindle. So I can't decide. I suppose I shouldn't have to feel too guilty about buying used books right? Except of course I usually buy them online and then they get shipped across the country which is bad. Ugg. And picture books and magazines are all about the big beautiful images, that is just not the same on the screen - so I will have to stick with paper there!
***Update 6/7/11 - I went to Anthro this weekend (because I go there waaaaay to often) and they now offer e-mailed receipts! Go Anthro.