When I had a baby, it seemed like the catalog companies knew about it before anyone else did. All of a sudden, I was overloaded by catalogs selling baby toys, breast pumps, children’s clothing, and more. Every single one went directly into my recycling bin. But I learned some great tricks for keeping junk mail from being sent to me in the first place.
Why is Junk Mail Bad?
- All of those catalogs, coupons and credit card offers add up. In the U.S., each person receives almost 560 pieces or 41 pounds of junk mail each year!
- Junk mail costs a lot in terms of money and resources to produce – using overwhelming amounts of paper and ink. Some companies are kind enough to print on recycled paper but the process of recycling also uses a huge amount of resources and energy.
- Transporting junk mail to your home also uses a ton of energy.
- I personally wasted hours dealing with recycling junk mail and trying to get my name off mailing lists. I had to contact some companies several times. This was time that I could have spent with my son.
How to Stop Junk Mail
- Don’t give out your mailing address when you make a purchase at a store.
- If you make a purchase online, make sure you have not been automatically selected to receive communications from that company by mail.
- Call the toll-free number on the catalog and ask the customer service representative to remove your name from the catalog mailing list.
- Go to store’s website and use their “Contact Us” form to request that your name be removed from their mailing list.
- Ask the company to send you notices of sales and events by email instead of mail.
- Ask companies to start printing catalogs and mailings on recycled paper, if they don’t already.
- When you move, fill out a Change of Address form on the U.S. Postal Service’s website. This will stop catalogs from being delivered to your old address.
- Sign up for an unwanted-mail reduction service.
Examples of Unwanted-Mail Reduction Services
- DirectMail – Get on Direct Mail’s National Do Not Mail list to stop unwanted advertising mail. It’s free! Simply a matter of filling out a form.
- Catalogchoice – Another free service. This site lets you opt out of paper catalogs and subscribe to email news. Requires you to register on the site.
- Stopthejunkmail – Costs $19.95 per year. Lets you opt out of catalogs, magazines, book clubs, non-profits, credit card solicitations and other direct mail. Plants a tree for every new subscription.
- OptOutPrescreen – The official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry site that lets you opt out of offers for credit or insurance.
- 41pounds.org – A nonprofit service that stops junk mail and catalogs for 5 years. Costs $41.
- YellowPagesGoesGreen – Free service that lets you opt out of the delivery of unsolicited telephone books.
- Ecological Mail Coalition – Free service that enables businesses to stop receiving junk mail addressed to their former employees.
- DMAchoice – Free service that allows you to selectively opt out of credit card offers, catalogs, magazine offers, and other mail offers. Also lets you control the commercial emails you receive.
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