Junk Mail
January 23, 2020

Ready or not, it's January, 2020. If you haven't made a New Year's resolution yet there's still time.

If you're like me, you've been thinking about what New Year's resolution you can commit to this year and keep it going for a while. It could be something that will save time, money, or calories. Or perhaps it's completing a task or taking care of something that's been causing you to lose sleep. This year I have resolved to get rid of the pesky unsolicited emails that clog up my inbox and cause a lot of distraction. Who doesn't want to look at endless photos of new houses on the market or review the latest animal care tips from your veterinarian? I have already started unsubscribing from everything I usually just delete. It has been very satisfying.

But why stop with unsolicited email? There's another time waster in my home, and I bet, in yours, too. It's also a resource waster that adds to landfill and causes who knows what gas emissions when the thin plastic coating on every page breaks down. That's right, shiny, voluminous JUNK MAIL.

How many unsolicited catalogs and magazines did you receive last month? I know the economy is doing well, but that was ridiculous. I piled them up and added them to the recycling bin, but they continue to flood my mailbox. It's time to face facts; no matter how much I love to read the Burpee catalog when it's cold outside and dream about the vegetable garden that will get planted someday, I am not going to buy seeds for the Bodacious tomato on the cover. It's time to do something to stop the unsolicited onslaught.

Like many challenges in life, there's an app for that. It's called PaperKarma, and it's available in most app stores. The free trial version lets you unsubscribe to four pieces of unsolicited mail. After that, you pay $1.99 per month for an unlimited number of 'unsubscriptions'. My plan is to pile up all my unsolicited mail for a month, unsubscribe to them, and cancel the PaperKarma subscription. We'll see how that goes. There's also an online service which lets you opt out of unsolicited magazines, catalogs and other direct mail solicitations for $2. It's available at DMAchoice.org.

Then I had another thought. As an environmentally and socially responsible B Corp, how could Sun Light & Power do our part to save trees and reduce landfill? We already have a good reduce/reuse/recycle program, but we can always do more.
Recently, I met someone and told them I work at a solar power company. They said, "Oh, I get a lot of stuff from you in the mail." The solar industry sends lots of flyers, postcards, letters and other stuff, so the person assumed some of it came from us, even though it didn't.

After a very brief discussion at the office, we came to a decision. We promise not to send you unsolicited, AKA 'junk' advertising mail. There, I said it. That was difficult, because as a marketing person, I know direct mail can be effective for delivering messages that may be helpful, save people money, and communicate the offer of valuable products and services such as solar.
We will use other methods to reach our current and potential customers. We promise not to send you unsolicited advertising mail. That's one less opt out for you, even though the message is one we love. Having solar is a good thing.

Nancy Summers is the Director of Marketing & PR at Sun Light & Power. She's an avid gardener, photographer, cook, mom, wife and lover of all efforts to keep the earth clean.

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