Green Tip – Reduce Clutter

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Reduce the amount of clutter in your home by reducing your paper waste as much as possible. Saving your sanity, and the environment, one tree at a time.

A good way to start reducing clutter in your home is by stopping junk mail and unwanted catalogues. There are companies like that can do that for you or you can call the contact number directly on the mail or magazines and ask them to remove you from their lists. 

When you stop junk mail you also:

Keep trees in the forest. More than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. 42% of timber harvested nationwide becomes pulpwood for paper.

Reduce global warming. The world’s temperate forests absorb 2 billion tons of carbon annually. Creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars.

Save water. About 28 billion gallons of water are wasted to produce and recycle junk mail each year.

Save time. You waste about 70 hours a year dealing with junk mail.


Here are some more decluttering tips from Big Green Purse:

  • Pay bills and bank online. Many banks now actually charge their customers a monthly fee to send them a paper statement. So, not only does online banking reduce the clutter in your house, it can save you money too. You’re also saving money on postage – not a lot in a month, but dollars that will add up over time.
  • Read newspapers and magazines electronically. Why? To avoid all the ads. The news part of the paper is actually rather thin; the advertising supplements are huge. When you want to know what a store has on sale, check out their website before you go shopping, or pick up their sales paper when you enter the store. You can usually find coupons online too and there are all kinds of mobile phone coupon apps so you can skip the print-out completely.
  • Share or go to the library. Sharing works especially well for for magazines. Share magazines with your friends and drop in to your local library for others.
  • Carry reusable bags. In addition to grocery bags, you can use small mesh bags for produce or grains you buy in bulk. Bring them along when you’re clothes shopping, too.

For more great tips, visit

Another great way to reduce clutter and help the planet is to stop getting the “yellow pages.”

It takes 19 million trees, 1.6 billion pounds of paper, 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, and 7.2 million barrels of oil to produce the 500 million directories that are delivered across the nation each year. (Source:, an organization working to stop the delivery of unwanted Yellow and White Pages Books.)

Use online resources instead like or These sites provide all of the address and phone number information that we used to gather by flipping through the yellow pages, plus they can provide maps, directions and more.

If you are using one of these (or similar) online directories and no longer wish to receive yellow pages, contact the company that publishes your yellow pages and ask them to stop delivery to your household and/or business.

  • Verizon (Superpages/Idearc): 800.888.8448
  • Dex (Yellow Pages): 877.243.8339 
  • Yellow Book: 800.373.3280 
  • AT&T/YellowPages (formerly SBC/Bell South): 800.792.2665 for AR, KS, OK, MO and TX only/All other states call 800.848.8000 

Or, you can sign up with and they will contact your local phone company for you. Their service is free.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Big Green Purse
Big Green Purse is packed with great green living tips, green how-to guides and a wonderful blog. They believe the fastest, easiest, most direct route to a clean and healthy environment is to shift our spending to environmentally-safe, socially responsible products and services.

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