County recyclers join anti-junk mail crusade
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
February 18, 2013
Teton County recyclers are trying to get a jump on their job by getting rid of a big part of their work before it arrives.
Arrives with the help of the U.S. Postal Service, that is.
Teton County residents throw away 700 tons of junk mail every year, according to the estimate of county recycling workers. With that comes hauling costs of about $70,000 that the county has to cover.
Staff at the Teton County Solid Waste and Recycling division is trying to slash the weight and expense with a free junk-mail reduction program called Catalog Choice.
The service is supposed to block unsolicited catalogs, coupons, credit card offers and phone books from ending up in residents’ post office boxes.
Anyone who is interested can sign up by going to www.Tetonwyo.org/Recycl and clicking on the Catalog Choice logo on the right side of the page.
County staffers already recycle 290 tons of paper products from the two post office locations in Jackson, but they’re hoping to do more. In cutting waste the program would also cut the county’s trash bill, a portion of which is passed on to customers through dump fees.
The county hauls its trash to a landfill near Idaho Falls, Idaho. That means the county has to pay for hauling costs and landfill fees, among other charges. County officials estimate they could save $10 per household by eliminating junk mail.
Discarded paper is one of the heaviest and most abundant components of city and county trash streams, county staffers said. Keeping all paper out of the trash can save the county a significant amount of money, they said.
Of the 290 tons of unwanted mail handled by recycling workers every year, about 30 tons is just phone books. They estimate that up to 75 tons of phone books bypass recycling efforts and go into the trash and eventually a dump.
More than 600 county households already have signed up for the free junk-mail reduction program, the county said.