Every year billions of pieces of junk mail circulate around the United States to the tune of approximately 18 pieces for every one personal letter. Junk mail destroys millions of trees, wastes time and money, and winds up clogging land fills according to information from ForestEthics.com.
But you don’t have to continue to support (or deny) the damage that it causes. There are new ways of combating the plethora of junk mail that shows up in your mail box every day. Here are ten that can help reduce junk mail and save the planet.
Unlisted Phone Number
One of the first places to start eliminating unwanted junk mail is by making yourself scarce. You can do this by having an unlisted phone number and address. Since many companies send out mass mailings by getting names from the white pages, you can help reduce your chances of being on the list by not being in the book.
Change of Address Forms
You may not know this, but when you fill out a change of address form you are actually allowing the U.S. Postal Service to sell or give your information to a long list of “service providers” which may be for law enforcement, voter registration, jury service, and legal proceedings. Instead, send your own change of address cards (or emails) to family and friends. For creditors, use the backside of your remittance form.
Shopping by Mail
Every time you order a product or magazine by mail, you risk being placed on a mailing list that can then be rented or sold. You can reduce your exposure by writing “do not rent of sell my name” next to your name on your order.
Product Warranty Cards
Ignore them. First, because most products will still be covered by a limited warranty and second, because if you’ve ever read all the questions they ask, you can tell it’s just to get your demographic information for future resale. One thing to keep in mind is that you may miss out on product recalls.
Direct Marketing Association
One effective way to cut junk mail is to remove your name from national mailing lists. You can do so by registering online with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The DMA is what the catalog and direct marketing industries use to generate leads.
Credit Card Offers
There is an official consumer credit reporting industry website for processing requests from consumers to opt-in or out of offers for credit or insurance. You can stop the four consumer credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion – from providing your credit information to others either by going on-line to OptOutPrescreen.com or by calling (888) 5-OPTOUT (567-8688).
While registering with the DMA is one method to reduce unwanted catalogs in your mail box, you can handle it directly with the catalog company by phone the customer service number listed in the catalog. Of course, that could mean a lot of phone calls.
Another alternative is to go on-line to CatalogChoice.orgAll you need do is register and then input the information of which catalogs you no longer wish to receive. Some companies that do not participate may disregard your request. .
No Junk Mail Registry
There are several “no junk mail” registries (see below); however, NewDreamsis more. Itwas designed to help Americans consume responsibly. So along with many causes they offer the Junk Your Junk Mail program.
41pounds, GreenDimes and ProQuo
According to 41pounds.org the amount of annual junk mail circulated in the U.S. produces more carbon dioxide than nine million cars. For a fee of $41 they promise to stop 80 to 95 percent of your junk mail AND to contribute approximately one-third of that fee toward a community organization of your choice.
Or if you prefer, you can sign up with GreenDimes.com for $20 and not only stop 90 percent of your junk mail, but have ten trees planted for you.
Finally, if you want to eliminate junk mail without a service fee, check out ProQuo.com where they offer to eliminate up to 90 percent of you junk mail as well as credit card offers and catalogs.
Return Your Junk Mail
Yes, you can. If you receive junk mail from organizations requesting donations, send a letter requesting they remove you from their list and use their postage paid envelope to mail it.