“Wrong!” you answered (pretty much universally).
Many, many readers wrote to me or posted comments, offering their support for paper thank you notes. The reasons included:
“It says you made an effort.”
“I love to receive them, so I should send them.”
“I like to pick out pretty matching stamps.”
So…I figured I’d quietly back off my super subtle “let’s abolish paper thank you’s” campaign before anybody noticed I had launched it. Why invite more criticism when I’m still recovering from some of your more outraged “how dare you wear your mother’s mink” comments?
But then, this morning my 8th grader came into the kitchen excited about Earth Day. All her friends are going to wear green or blue! Or brown. Anyway, she started humming the “Mother Earth” song she learned when we lived in Northern California, where they are serious about recycling, and so I decided to give the anti-paper argument another shot.
When it comes to dealing with all the paper waste that mail creates, Bea’s philosophy is simple: Don’t let it come into your house in the first place. Refuse, so you don’t have to recycle later. She phones catalog companies to ask them to take her off their mailing lists. She saves cardboard boxes and re-addresses them. She mails back videos in their Netflix sleeves.
“I think that on some very special occasions they are needed (if meeting the Queen of England, for example, or my grandma who does not have email). But for most occasions, an email will suffice (it’s a step up from texting).”
The exception, Bea wrote, is when someone mails you a paper invitation. “When you receive a paper invitation, you get a return address on the envelope,” she said. Save the envelope. When it’s time for a thank you, write a note (Bea makes her own paper, from recycled pulp, by the way) and send it back in the same envelope.
Happy Earth Day, everyone!
(image via RealSimple.com)