Hate your junk
mail? Of course you do--everyone does. But the thought of
picking up the phone, or worse, drafting a "to whom It may
concern" letter to Big Business, USA, is ultimately more
than you're willing to go through. It's easier to just
recycle--or throw away--all those catalogs
and once-in-a-lifetime offers.
The annoyance of
junk mail--not the waste of our precious national
resources--was Pankaj Shah's motivation for starting
, a Web-based company designed to
rid you of junk mail. "When I left my last
start-up and took time off, I noticed this colossal stack of
junk mail, " says Shah. "My first reaction wasn't so
much the trees wasted but that I don't really want to
deal with this. So I went to the Web site for the city
of Palo Alto, Calif., where I was living at the time. It was
a big hassle, and I thought, If the price was low enough, I
would pay someone to stop this in a heartbeat."
For just a dime a
day ($36 dollars a year), Green Dimes will contact
every business and nonprofit that sends you unwanted
mail and have your name removed from their mailing
list. What's more, once every month Green Dimes will
plant a tree in your name. The company estimates that we
waste 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water each
year just to produce junk mail people don't want.
simple: Set up an account and enter the names of every
organization you'd like to stop sending you unsolicited
mail. While Green Dimes is familiar with most
perpetrators, if they don't recognize the company,
they'll research it.
The only company
Green Dimes can't wrangle is the worst
culprit--Victoria's Secret. Shah says to stop the junk, you
have to submit a request via their Web site to
"decrease" the number of catalogs you get each month.
And you have to separately request that they stop
selling your information to other companies. The only way to
be truly removed from their mailing list , he says, is
a "30-minute phone conversation." So, with a limited
staff of less than 20 people, Green Dimes can only
say, "Good luck."
Shah already sees
his company's mission moving beyond trees and water.
For Malaria Awareness Day, Green Dimes donated 5,000 nets
(one for each new member) to someone in a third-world
country. Shah hopes this will be the first of many
programs that help further awareness around a variety
of global issues. Plus you get the satisfaction of logging
on and watching the up to date counter of pounds of
junk mail stopped, trees planted/saved, and gallons of
water saved by the program.
But not all
unsolicited mail is bad. What about the nonprofits that rely
so heavily on mass mailing for their annual revenue? For
Shah, that's the beauty of every member choosing which
companies to blacklist. You can keep the good ones
coming. Besides, without the stacks of mail to wade
through, the charities might actually make an impact. Says
Shah: "Ostensibly, we are making the list more