We baby boomer women have great power. Immense power. If we want to use it, we can do something really cool, something that will make a difference – like save 2 million trees.
Let’s do the math.
There are something like 80 million people age 50 and over in the USA.
Over half are female, but let’s be conservative and just say there are 40 million women over age 50.
The average number of catalogs received per person each week is 2.9. Age 55+ receive more catalogs than the average. Women receive more than men. Let’s be conservative again and say the average boomer woman receives 3 catalogs per week.
3 catalogs X 40 million boomer women = 120 million catalogs per week, 480 million per month, 5.7 BILLION per year.
The average number of pages in a catalog, counting the covers, is between 28 and 36. Let’s split the difference and say 32. Treating every two pages as one sheet of average sized paper, that’s 16 sheets of paper per catalog. At 120 million catalogs per week, that’s 1.9 billion sheets of paper per week.
About one-third of paper is made from trees. The rest is made from recycled paper or from sawdust and wood scraps from lumber yards. So, of the 1.9 billion, 633 million sheets per week are made from trees.
A tree produces between 10,000 and 20,000 sheets of paper. Let’s use the average: 15,000 sheets of paper. 633 million sheets of paper divided by 15,000 sheets per tree = 42,200 trees felled each week, 168,800 each month, more than 2 million trees each year. That’s like wiping out Central Park more than 3 times over every two weeks – so we can lounge on our couches and leaf through pictures of shoes and skinny jeans and fancy food. TIM-ber, planet earth!
Don’t forget too, the energy used by the plants that print the catalogs, the ink used, the chemicals that coat the paper with a glossy finish, and the fuel consumed in transporting these catalogs. But for now let’s just look at the trees, and let’s try to see the forest.
Cancel your catalogs!
Instead of reading paper catalogs, use the internet. Create a folder in your bookmarks or favorites for all the companies whose products you like. Then in the evening, lounge on the couch with your laptop or iPad or tablet and surf the catalogs – online.
Imagine the impact if we all did this. We hold the most power of any group in our population. Let’s use it to save 2 million trees.
P.S. Until recently I, unfortunately, was one of the 8% of the population who receive 10+ catalogs a week. I’m not proud of that. I let it happen because I became frustrated with the trouble it took to call or write or email to try to unsubscribe. But I recently discovered an app for my Android called PaperKarma, and with it I’m attacking my catalogs every day with giddy pleasure. All I have to do is click a picture of the company name and address from the back of the catalog, and click a blue button that says “Unsubscribe Me!” Paper Karma then sends my name & address to the company and gets me removed from its mailing list. Join me! Join the movement! Power To the Forest!