Stop Junk Mail
Junk mail is a problem faced by just about every family in the United States. Junk mail causes huge environmental issues across the planet, and is just plain annoying. According to a report by Forest Ethics, the average home receives approximately 850 pieces of junk mail every year – in total leading to over 100 billion pieces of junk mail nationwide!
Junk mail fuels deforestation around the world causing the destruction of over 100 million trees every year. As these forests are harvested, ecosystems are destroyed, wildlife habitat is fractured, and the naturally provided carbon sequestration is compromised. Forests absorb billions of tons of carbon every year – losing those trees fuels global climate change. The junk mail industry produces more than 51 million metric tons of greenhouse gases every year! That’s the equivalent of the annual impact of Mississippi, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Idaho combined.
There are simple and easy ways to cut the amount of junk mail that makes its way to your mailbox. Follow the steps below to stamp unwanted junk mail out of your home and conserve our resources.
How to Stop Junk Mail
- Remember to say or write “Do not sell, rent, or trade my name” any time you sign up or order any new product or service to stop the junk mail cycle before it begins!
- Avoid filling out warranty cards – oftentimes they only serve as a personal information source for mailing lists.
- Return unopened junk mail with first class postage with the message “Refused: Return To Sender” to remove yourself from their list. Return opened junk mail with prepaid postage reply envelops with the same message.
- Call or email companies that send unwanted mailings or catalogs and ask to be removed from their mailing list.
- Request that your recipients of charitable givings contact you electronically.
2. Use Free Services
CatalogChoice is a great way to cut back on mail from specific senders. Register for free online with just your name and email address. – simply go through the list of mailers and remove your name from specific lists. (Certain company-specific forms may need to be completed to ensure removal.)
DMAchoice, part of Direct Marketing Association, will put your name on the “Do Not Contact” list for a number of the most common mailing lists. Register for free either online or via mail with a small processing fee. Visit their website to register for free with just your name and email address. Or, complete this form and send to “DMAchoice, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY, 10512” with a $1 processing fee either with a check or money order made out to DMAchoice.
OptOut will place your name on the “Do Not Contact” list for the major credit reporting agencies including TransUnion, Experian, Innovis, and Equifax. Simply call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688), and work with the automated service to be taken off of their lists.
PaperKarma is a free app to help take your name and information off targeted mailing lists. Take a photo of the code and the mailing address with your smart phone and submit it. The app will find the specific mailing list and remove your name. Available for both iOS and Android.
ProQuo is a free online services that removes your name from the most common marketing and direct-mailing lists (which include circulars, telemarketing lists, and more.)
- Smaller Direct Marketing Companies
After opting out of the Direct Marketing Association, be sure to remove your name from the list of the other smaller list brokers and direct marketing companies. Call or mail each of the firms listed below with all the variations of your name and address which come to your mailbox. (Even small variations equal another name on a list and another piece of junkmail at your door!) Be sure to indicate the following: “Please remove my name and address from your mailing lists and do not, sell or trade my name or address.”
- Valpak – 1 Valpak Avenue, N. Petersburg, FL 33716, 1-727-399-3000 (Fill in this information exactly as printed on the Valpak mailing label.)
- Valassis Direct Mail, Inc. – Consumer Assistance, PO Box 249, Windsor , CT 06095, 1-800-437-0479 (Select “consumer” and then “I would like to be removed from your mailing list.”)
- Epsilon Data Services – Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Remove” in the subject line, and your full name and address in the message. (If you have changed your address over the past six months, include your previous address.)
3. Use Paid Services
41Pounds, named for the amount of junk mail the average American adults receives annually, works to remove your name from as many mailing lists as possible. This services costs $35 for five years of service (with $10 donated directly to environmental or social justice organizations) and guarantees to cut junk mail by 85-90 percent.