It is estimated that junk mail creates approximately four million tons of preventable waste every year.
Junk mail is generally defined as unsolicited mail sent out, usually by direct marketing or direct mail firms, and used to introduce new products, books, magazines, investment opportunities, credit cards, merchandise catalogs, etc. While some of this unsolicited mail may be wanted, your name can quickly get on more un-wanted mailing lists and dramatically increase the amount of unsolicited mail that you receive.
Reducing unwanted mail can help reduce the financial and environmental impacts associated with the production and distribution of the material. Some impacts include:
Destroys more than 62 million trees each year
Produces green house emissions equivalent to 9 million cars
Wastes 28 billion gallons of water
Fills 3% of America’s landfills
Costs taxpayers $320 million in disposals fees annually
How can I reduce the junk mail I receive?
Most junk mail companies get your name and information from just a few major mailing lists. By removing your name and information from these lists, you can cut the majority of the junk mail that clogs your mailbox and help to ease this wasteful practice. Here is who to contact to cut the junk:
End Unsolicited Credit Card Offers
Telling the major credit agencies not to sell your information to direct mail and credit card companies. You’ll need your address, former address within two years and your social security number. Call 1-888-5 OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) 24 hours a day or fill out the online form>>>
Do Not Mail List
- Add your name to the Do Not Mail List Do Not Mail List>>> maintained by directmail.com. This is a free service.
Mail Preference Service
- Add your name to the Mail Preference Service maintained by the Direct Marketing Association. A $1 fee payable by credit card is used for verification purposes. The DMA also maintains a Deceased Do Not Contact List that allows you to remove the names of any deceased relatives whose mail you are receiving.
EcoLogical Mail Coalition
- For Businesses, enroll in the EcoLogical Mail Coalition, an initiative to help companies reduce junk mail by removing ex-employees from outside mailing lists.
- PaperKarma is an app that allows you to snap pictures of junk mail you don't want to receive anymore and it will directly notify the marketing company to remove your address from their list. The app is available in numerous app stores. There are some fees that apply if you choose more than the most basic service.
Notify Specific Companies
- Notify specific companies or catalogs that you wish to be removed from their lists. Call the number listed on the mailing or catalogs. Give them your catalog or customer number, on the back of the publication. You can also enlist the help of non-profit organizations, such as Catalog Choice at www.catalogchoice.org to help you with the process of removing yourself from common catalogs mailing lists. Here are a few common mailers:
Local Business and Supermarket Fliers
Each lose-leaf bundle of fliers, by postal regulations, must be delivered at the same time as an address card. Locate this address card, call directory assistance to get the phone number of the sender, and call to get off the list. These are the larger flyer agencies:
- ADVO Call 1-860-285-6100 to get off the list or send a postcard to "ADVO Consumer Assistance, POB 249, Windsor CT 06095-4176".
- Val-Pak Coupons: Click the link and fill out the form. Working email address is not necessary to submit form.
- Carol Wright Call 1-800-67-TARGET to get off the list.
Mailing List of Major Sweepstakes Mailers
- Publishers Clearinghouse. Call (800-645-9242) or by mail: Consumer & Privacy Affairs, Publishers Clearinghouse, 382 Channel Drive, Port Washington NY 11050; or by e-mail: email@example.com.
- Readers Digest Sweepstakes, phone (800-310-6261) or by mail: Reader's Digest, PO Box 50005, Prescott AZ 86301-5005.
By taking these steps, you can free up space in your mailbox, and space in our landfills. Just remember, any time you sign up for a new service or give out your personal information such as name, address and telephone number to a company, that information could be sold to other companies. Avoid giving out your information whenever possible.
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