We write about products and services that we use. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
Wouldn’t you love to stop getting all that unwanted junk mail?
I swear, I bet I shred 5 pieces of junk mail per day at my house. It’s ridiculous.
Whether you want to be semi-militant about stopping junk mail (and sticking it to the junk mailer’s pocket book), or if you’d politely like to opt out of their mailing lists, there is a solution for you!
Why is stopping junk mail important …besides it being annoying?
Get With Green shares some data that is quite eye opening indeed:
- Your name is typically worth 3 to 20 cents each time it is sold.
- 100 million trees are ground up each year for unsolicited mail.
- It wastes 28 billion gallons of water for paper processing each year.
- That’s 4.5 million tons of junk mail produced each year!
- $320 million of local taxes are used to dispose of unsolicited mail each year.
- The average person gets only 1.5 personal letters each week, compared to 10.8 pieces of junk mail.
- 44% of all junk mail is thrown in the trash, unopened and unread.
Now here are your options for putting an end to junk mail once and for all…
For the Militant
#1 – Stamp out junk mail.
Green Upgrader shares an idea for creating your own “Retun to Waster” stamp (like the one pictured above) to stamp on all junk mail and send it back to the junk mailer.
“Clearly, sending the mail back is a less sustainable act, on its own, than recycling it because it is tying up resources and using energy, however, this may be a way to affect change in the system that is creating so much junk mail. The companies don’t send the mail to annoy us, they send it looking for customers. If they start receiving it back in large quantities with a stamp expressing our disapproval they may start considering more effective means of advertising. Furthermore, a lot of that junk mail comes from companies paying the U.S. Postal Service to distribute their ads (the ones addressed to “Current Resident”), so maybe if enough of this junk ends up getting sent back through the system tying up the USPS’s resources they would re-evaluate the program.”
#2 – Stone them to death, figuratively, but in a literal way.
Office of Strategic Influence has a very funny and clever idea: mail a brick back to the junk mailer using the pre-paid postage envelope as the mailing label. This costs you nothing, but costs the junk mailer about $25!!!
Their instructions are:
- Step 1: Get the “No Postage Necessary” envelope out of the junk mail.
- Step 2: Put a brick (or anything) in a box.
- Step 3: Tape the “No Postage Necessary” envelope neatly to the box.
- Step 4: Put it into one of those blue mail boxes, the parcel dump at the post office, or in your own mailbox.
For the Lovers, Not the Fighters
#3 – Nickel and dime your way out.
One of the most popular services for the not so militant approach to stopping or reducing junk mail is GreenDimes. They’ve been touted in the New York Times, Business Week, on Good Morning America, and many more media outlets.
They have 3 different solutions to stop unwanted junk mail. You can choose their free, premium, or bundle options.
The premium package is probably the most used as it is a mere $20 one time fee to:
- protect everyone’s name in your household
- provide automatic junk mail removal tools
- plant 5 trees on your behalf
- and much more
#4 – Scratch the tree devouring cats.
Catalogs, that is. Catalog Choice is specific to putting an end to catalogs in the mail.
They say that a staggering 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers each year. Sign up at Catalog Choice to help stop the madness.
Of course, you can use all the catalogs that you do have to make creative wrapping paper. This would reduce your use of another huge tree devouring and toxic product.
What are some ways you deal with the junk mail you get? Or do you just deal with it and shred it?
I think every little step toward living green is an awesome one… but eco-snobbery sucks! My goal is to help newbies learn the most important steps toward living green — individually and collectively. Personally, I strive to have as little impact as possible on Planet Earth while I'm here.