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November 16, 2013

Our Mailboxes Are a Problem for the Planet. ~ Daniel Garcia {App Review}

We all know what it’s like to open our mailboxes and find it full of a bunch of junk we don’t even open.

Most days, my mail consists purely of this type of crap; everything from pre-approved credit card offers to coupon books. I try to put it all in the recycle bin, but inevitably some of it ends up in a landfill.

This daily routine is replicated by millions of Americans. Unfortunately, it’s bad news for the earth.

According to information provided by PaperKarma, nearly 30 percent of all waste worldwide consists of paper. Hundreds of millions of trees are represented in the amount of newspapers, catalogs and magazines published each year. Furthermore, only one piece of mail for every 19 received is personal mail—the rest is unwanted. The repercussions for the planet are obvious.

The good people at PaperKarma are helping battle this problem through the development of a simple, intuitive and helpful app. PaperKarma is a green app that helps stop unwanted paper mail by unsubscribing us from mailing lists.

After downloading it, I was prompted to sign up using either email or Facebook. Once I signed up I was asked to enter the address where I receive snail mail, and then I was ready to fight the junk monster.

The app is easy to use. Upon opening it, there is a large “Scan Mail” button that opens up your camera to take a photo of the offending piece of mail. Our only job, then, is to take a clear pic of our address, the company’s address and any tracking codes.

Once that’s done, hit “unsubscribe,” and they take care of the rest.

I repeated the process five times, and once submitted, checked back the next day using their “request status” button only to find I had been successfully unsubscribed from all of them. The app lets us know if our unsubscribe request has been successful, is still in “pending,” or if the attempt failed.

I liked using the app and recommended it to friends. Its ease of use will make it accessible to even the least tech-savvy of us.

PaperKarma is free and available on both Android and IOS devices.

If you are looking to reduce your paper waste, this app is for you.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo Credit: CatalogSpree

 

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Cat B Nov 22, 2013 5:55pm

I'd love to know if there's an app like this for Canadians. It seems this one is US only! Too bad!

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Daniel Garcia

I am a criminal defense and immigration attorney in Austin, Texas. When I’m not helping people out with a variety of legal issues, you can find me hanging outdoors with my wife, chilling with an IPA or working to make my insanely flawed self a little better.