Junk mail…argh…bane of my existence! We work so hard to move toward zero waste in our house and then we go to the mailbox, and WHAMO! there’s a bolus of junk!
New York University Law School posted some statistics they gathered on junk mail in the United States:
- 5.6 million tons of catalogs and direct mailings end up in US landfills every year
- 44% of junk mail is tossed unopened!
- Only 22% of junk mail is recycled
- The average US household receives 848 pieces of junk mail a year!
- Junk mail destroys 150 million trees per year—the equivalent of deforesting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months!
What I Do to Decrease Junk Mail
- Catalog Choice sends opt-out requests to catalog and other merchants on your behalf
- OptOutPrescreen.Com Service by the major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian, and Innovus) to be removed from lists used to send credit and insurance offers
- National Do Not Mail List from DirectMail.com, a national direct mailing company
- National Yellow Pages Consumer Choice & Opt-Out Site will stop delivery of phone books (yellow and white pages) for your area
- Sign up for electronic billing from services you use
- Contact businesses directly. I call and/or email businesses that send us junk mail to be removed from their mailing list. Unfortunately, a lot of times they have purchased a mailing list from places like DirectMail.com, so it won’t remove you from the master list, but it should prevent you from getting mail from this individual business again. Here’s the saved email message I use:
Subject: Removal from Mailing List
We recently received an unsolicited mailing from you. We are a zero waste household and are working to eliminate unnecessary paper waste. Would you please remove us from your mailing list:
Name on mailing
Address on mailing
Services for a Fee
- Paper Karma a smartphone app that allows you to submit photos to remove yourself from mailing lists for a subscription fee of $1.99 a month
- DMA Choice charges $2 fee for a 10 year period of opting out of junk mail lists.
Cindy Thompson, MS, is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator; an American Council on Exercise certified Health Coach, Peer Fitness Trainer, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist; Tilth Alliance Soil and Water Steward; 5 Gyres Ambassador; and retired fire captain and paramedic. She provides health and lifestyle coaching at Trimazing! Vegan Lifestyle & Health Coaching. Cindy can be reached at email@example.com.