Every time we embark on a new year, I think about all the extra junk and clutter that has accumulated over the last year. Two areas that I would like to cut down on even more is junk mail and phone calls from telemarketers. One is downright wasteful and the other is utterly annoying. We’ve been working on the many harassing phone calls we get each day using caller ID and blocking through the Do Not Call Registry, but my mail is still teeming with junk.
Along with marking your mailings, “Return to Sender” and sending it back to the culprit, you can also open the ones that have pre-paid return envelopes often and send it back with a firm request to be removed from the mailing list. I like this idea and I don’t. It’s free and easy, but the junk mail still gets printed and mailed, so it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get off the list and it adds to the destruction of more trees.
Heather Levin from The Greenest Dollar adds some additional insights learned from her experience of cycling the junk out of her life. Her blog reveals some pretty shocking facts about junk mail:
“According to experts we’ll spend 8 months of our life reading, sorting, and recycling the stuff,” she says. “That’s a lot of time we could be devoting to napping, playing with our kids, reading, or pulling weeds. Anything else, for that matter, besides dealing with junk mail.”
She also points out that junk mail accounts for 1/3 of all mail sent in the United States, adding up to over 800 pieces of junk mail delivered each year to each household.
“Want to know how many trees that is?” she asks. “100 million. Every single year. Just for junk mail. This is equivalent to clear cutting all of Rocky Mountain National Park, every four months.”
And that’s not even the end of it. The emissions created from junk mail each year, according to DoNotMail.org, is the equivalent of the emissions created by more than 9,377,000 passenger cars.
Next: 7 ways to make it stop!
Below is Levin’s ultimate list for stopping junk mail:
1. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
I started with the DMA, and to give them credit I did see a pretty dramatic drop in my junk mail, especially when it came to credit card offers. You can customize your mailing preferences through the DMA by heading here.
If you’ve lost a family member and want to get their name off mailing list, you can sign up for Deceased-Do Not Contact through the DMA here.
Yep, Val-Pak is that blue envelope of useless coupons that shows up every month. What a waste! Unless you’re re-asphalting your driveway or thinking about getting cellulite removal surgery, then these coupons are a waste of time and paper.
You can get off the Val-Pak mailing list here.
Yes, you’ll still need to do this even if you sign up with DMA. After I did DMA, I was still getting Val-Pak coupons.
2. Opt-Out Pre-Screen
Opt-Out Pre-Screen stops you from getting pre-screened or pre-approved credit card offers.
To sign up, click here.
You can also call 888-567-8688 from your home telephone to opt out.
If you get catalogs, it’s probably because you bought something.
Companies are notorious for selling lists, so if you bought a sweater through L.L. Bean then chances are you’ll start getting a J.Crew catalog, an REI catalog, and a Hearth and Home just for good measure.
If you want to stop the flood of catalogs, send them an email,
Or write to:
P.O. Box 1478
Broomfield, Colorado 80038
5. Tacky Store Flyers
I wish I had a picture of the one I got today. It was a HUGE FURNITURE BLOWOUT newspaper-type flyer from the local furniture store. I get them almost daily from car dealerships, hairdressers, pizza stores, department stores – blergh.
These are the flyers that are addressed to Resident. And they usually come from Red Plum marketing.
Want to stop them?
Click here to get off the Red Plum mailing list. You can also call: 888-241-6760.
6. Publishers Clearinghouse
Ok, I’ve never been solicited by Publishers Clearinghouse, but if you have, you can get off their list by sending an email.
7. Other Junk
So, what about those AOL cds and Happy Birthday cards from our dentist that we don’t want or need?
We just have to tell them we don’t want it. If, after signing up with all the resources listed above, you’re still getting some junk, then call the company directly. Ask them to take you off their mailing list.
They can hardly be rude; after all, this is saving them money too.
And your dentist? Ask the receptionist to take you off the mailing list except for cleaning reminders. Better yet, ask if they’ll email you.
Thank you Heather! Make sure to check out other articles from her inspiring blog, The Greenest Dollar.
What do you do about junk mail?