Have you sat and wondered how to put an end to the torrential waves of junk mail that end up stuffed inside your mailbox every day? The good news is there are ways to “opt-out.” It may take some effort, but together we can diminish the effect of unwanted junk mail on our environment.
To get started on a path to a smaller carbon footprint and an emptier mailbox, you will have to follow a few simple instructions and fill out a few forms. Not bad, when you consider the alternative. One-hundred million trees are felled annually to support direct marketing efforts in America.
If you really want to save the trees, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops. Some companies you’ll have to email directly, but if you ask them to stop, they will.
Below are two very good (and free) options to look when you decide that you’ve had enough of the junk.
First Stop: DMAchoice.org
DMAchoice.org is a good place to start, and once you start clicking around, you will be removing yourself from lists that you never even knew you were on in the first place. It’s very simple and intuitive to use, and so worth it. There you must print, fill out and submit a written form to be taken off the permanent do not mail list that financial companies use when deciding whom to send pre-screened credit card offers to. It takes a little effort, but it is worth it to do.
While you are on the DMAchoice.org website you will see that there are more “types” of direct mail. In addition to “credit offers,” there are three separate categories, labeled “catalogs,” “magazine offers” and “other mail.” Here is a snippet about each:
- Catalogs: In the catalog section, you will find links to companies mailing specification pages. If you are getting the Bed Bath & Beyond Catalog and you don’t want it, go through the simple steps that get you removed from its list. You can go through all of the catalogs you are getting, and follow links to get in contact and send your requests to them.
You will find that some companies make it simple for you to be removed, and some require more red tape. It’s kind of annoying, but until America’s privacy laws get rewritten, we are stuck with it. Remember, this isn’t about you, it’s about the environment. If you want to be a good steward to mother earth, do it.
- Magazine Offers: Have you ever bought someone a gift subscription only to become inundated by junk mail offers after the subscription is up? Here you will find a list of links to companies to opt-out of, at the very least, an email address for customer service.
- Other Mail: There are other options available that will enable you to avoid other invasive types of junk mail that may be showing up at your door.
Second Stop: Catalogchoice.org
- DMAchoice isn’t the only way to get help stopping unsolicited junk mailers. There’s also Catalogchoice.org. Once you take a moment to sign up on Catalogchoice.org, you will be taken to a splash page that tracks your activity. This site is similar to DMAchoice.org in that it helps you contact the parties responsible for your direct mail. It also helps you track all the requests you’ve made so you can easily follow up if you find that you are still getting that Victoria’s Secret catalog or 10-page book of coupons that you never wanted.
When you go to the “Your Choices” page, you will also see a few numbers itemizing the environmental benefit of your efforts. The numbers, which are provided by the Environmental Paper Network, show that catalog choice has helped save more than 730,000 trees.
Other Helpful Tips:
Keep the catalogs and credit card offers that you receive in the mail, so you can contact only the companies that you need to contact.
Don’t be discouraged that you can’t stop it all. Every letter you cancel saves us all valuable resources. Approximately 5.6 million tons of junk mail ends up in landfills each year in America. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Catalogchoice.org and DMAchoice.org are just two of many websites that can help you get started. Take some time and make it happen. Estimates are that the average American spends more than 8 months in their lifetime dealing with junk mail, so spending a few hours now to avoid wasting those 8 months is a good idea.
How do you get rid of junk mail?