5 Ways to Stamp Out Junk Mail

Posted by: Mary Kate Ranii on January 28, 2015

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 the EPA, Americans get 5 million tons of junk mail every year, fueling deforestation, clogging our landfills, and wasting our time and money. Of that 5 million tons, 44% is never even opened, with most of it heading straight to landfill.

Junk mail fuels deforestation around the world, putting ecosystems and wildlife at risk and increasing runoff and erosion (aka flooding and landslides). Over 100 MILLION trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. As these forests are harvested, the carbon sequestration that they naturally provide is compromised. Forests absorb billons of tons of carbon every year – losing those trees exacerbates global climate change and its effects!

There are simple and easy ways to cut the amount of junk mail that makes its way to your mailbox. Follow the simple steps below to stamp unwanted junk mail out of your home and conserve our resources.

How to Stop Junk Mail

Check out these great companies, organizations, and apps to help cut junk mail from your life!

1. CatalogChoice

CatalogChoice is a great way to cut back on just the mail you don’t want. Register for free online with just your name and email address. Go through their list of mailers and remove your name from specific mailing lists. To do this, you may have to fill out company-specific forms to be removed from certain mailing lists.

2. DMAchoice

DMAchoice, part of Direct Marketing Association, will put your name on the “Do Not Contact” list for some of the most common mailing lists. Register for free either online or via mail with a processing fee. Visit their website to register for free with just your name and email address. Or, print out the form on their “Get Started” page and mail it to their corporate office – DMAchoice, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY, 10512. Remember to include a $1 processing fee either with a check or money order made out to DMAchoice.

3. OptOut

Use this service to end credit card junk mail. Your name will by placed on the “Do Not Contact” list for the main consumer credit reporting agencies including TransUnion, Experian, Innovis, and Equifax.

Simply call their number (a pre-recorded message) at 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). You will be asked for some basic information to be taken off of their lists.

4. 41Pounds

41Pounds is an organization that works to take your name off of as many mailing lists as possible. Named for the amount of junk mail the average American adult receives a year, 41Pounds guarantees to cut your junk mail by 85-90 percent. This service costs $35 for five years of service, with $10 donated directly to environmental or social justice organizations. Register on their website.

5. PaperKarma

PaperKarma is a free app to help take your name and information off targeted mailing lists. Simply snap a photo of the code and the mailing address with your smart phone and submit it. The app will work to find the specific mailing list and remove your name, and will keep informed on the status of your information. Available for both iOS and Android. Find more information on their website.

Other Ways to Reduce Junk Mail

  1. 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.
  2. Do not fill out warranty cards – oftentimes they only serve as a personal information source for mailing lists.
  3. If a company sends prepaid postage reply envelop, use it to send back your request to be removed from their mailing list.
  4. Call the 1-800 numbers on unwanted mailing and catalogs and ask to be removed from their mailing list.
  5. On junk mail with first class postage, write “Refused: Return to Sender.”
Categories: Sustainable Home