Junk Mail Madness – How to Make it Stop!

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.

This subject is not new to Care2. Mel outlines in her articles how to use sites such as 41 Pounds and Green Dimes to irradiate those pesky fliers.

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.

2. Val-Pak

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.

4. Catalogs

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:
Abacus, Inc.
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.

Good luck!

Thank you Heather! Make sure to check out other articles from her inspiring blog, The Greenest Dollar.

What do you do about junk mail?


da c.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you.

Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin3 years ago

great info! thanks for sharing!

Ann Fox
Ann Fox4 years ago

Publishers Clearing House & Readers Digest Sweepstakes are the worst PARASITES EVER! They prey on the weak & the sick. Seniors are taken advantage of for years....offering hope where there is none.Stop sending your crap to my sick MOM!

Syd Henley
Syd H4 years ago

It must always be remembered, that REPUTABLE BUSINESSES never need to advertise by means of unsolicited brochures, catalogues and fliers. If the companies PRODUCT or SERVICE is any good, they will get all the customers and sales they need, through word of mouth recommendations from satisfied customers talking to friends and relatives.
I run a second hand book selling business in the U.K. and have never found a need to waste money and paper on this unsolicited advertising. I have customers all over the world and almost every one of them has come to me by recommendation from other people who have been satisfied by my service, price and the quality of the books I sell. During my 35 years or so of trading, the only advertising I have done, is a couple of small adverts in trade journals and the distribution of business cards at events and conferences I attend.

Dana W.
Dana W5 years ago

Thanks for the info especially for people I do business with like my insurance company, dentist, etc. I don't want or need an expensive Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. card that isn't even from a person but a company. Will see if I can get off their mailing list.

Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago

Wish this really, truly worked! Thanks!

Dale Overall

Yes, junk mail is annoying and some is recycled for writing scrap paper, the rest recycled.
Bell Canada is one of the worse, stopped being their customer years ago and they endless fill my mail box with pleas to return, offers and what not. They just don't get that by annoying me I will never go back to them!
Then there was a petition that I signed on Care2 and then I got a phone call-did not put my number on it but they looked it up and called no doubt looking for a cash donation but I told them I was sick and they phoned the next day and for the entire week. Then on Saturday with a few hours of sleep they called me at ten in the morning. Nothing like spending another hour and a half trying to get back to sleep after that and told them in no uncertain terms to take me off the list!
Just because one signs a petition does not mean we want to be phoned at home. I believe they had even sent me junk mail as well and when that didn't get a response-the telephone!
There are advantages to an unlisted number at times!

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Michelle P5 years ago

The answer is simple: put a notice on your letterbox which says "No Junk Mail Please". You can buy them, they are made of metal and are easily attached. We are allowed them here in Australia, don't know if it's the same in other countries.

Pat W.
Pat W5 years ago

good info

Jenny I.
Jenny I.5 years ago

You can also check out No AdMail - www.noadmail.ca

No AdMail offers a simple and affordable solution to end the delivery of unaddressed ad mail with the patent pending No AdMail sign. Made of recycled plastic, the sign hangs inside your mailbox and tells your letter carrier you don’t want unaddressed ad mail. The No AdMail sign is universal. It was designed for all mailbox types - rural, community, apartment or house!