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To Do: Get Rid of Junk Mail

by Tiffany in Eco Tips

No Junk Mail

This week I have been keeping an eye on my junk mail. After seeing all those plastic windows from junk mail envelopes on Beth Terry's plastic video I can't help it. Junk mail is a hugely wasteful practice and it is so unnecessary. I don't want that junk mail, do you? The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. Thankfully, there are things we can do to stop the waste and say no to junk mail.

1. Think twice before giving out information

Typically, you receive junk mail because someone, somewhere has sold or given your name and address to a marketing company or other businesses. When you give out personal information and have it entered into a database (such as when you apply for a library card, mail forwarding service, or credit card), request that the organization does not share your personal information with anyone.

Also in this category of informational caution are product registration cards, sweepstakes, raffles, and contests. The chances of winning these are actually tiny. What they really want is your address so they can sell it.

2. Don't let them follow you

If you move, don't fill out a change of address form at the post office. Just contact your friends, colleagues, and respectable businesses personally and let them know of your move. Otherwise, the junk mail will start showing up at your new residence shortly.

3. Send it back to them

Hehe… when I used to pay bills via check and envelope I would stuff the wasteful little fliers they put in with the bill and any junk mail they sent inside the provided envelope along with the paid bill. I figured they were responsible for getting rid of their own waste. Now that I pay all bills online I don't get to do that anymore. With other junk mailings that have return addresses I have also put Return to Sender and then stuck it back in the mail.

4. Have your information removed from mailing lists

You can contact the major marketers (such as the Direct Marketing Association) yourself, or save time and have someone else do the legwork for you. An organization that specializes in such help is For $41, or a little over $8 a year, will remove your name from mailing lists for five years. When you get junk mail look for a number to call and ask that they stop sending you further mailings AND not sell your address to anyone.

Do you have a tip to share for reducing the volume of unwanted mail?

Photo Credit: Saunderses

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

7 Comments on To Do: Get Rid of Junk Mail

  • Great ideas. I haven’t found many good ways to recycle the plastic that comes in certain things. Like junk mail. The plastic that comes in some food packaging is also annoying. I might try sending some of the mail back. Will probably annoy my mailman though. Ha ha.

  • Specialk

    You have great ideas to minimize all of the junk mail. I also use Catalog Choice to avoid unwanted catalogs ( You just enter the ones that you want to stop getting.

  • Tiffany – Catalog Choice is a free national service that citizens can use to reduce junk mail. See all the testimonials from our fans at We service 1.1 million households and growing.

  • Jackie @ Lilolu

    I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read #3. I wish I’d thought of that.

  • andiscandis

    I saved all of my junk mail one summer and then spent an afternoon emailing the companies and requesting that my name and address be removed from their mailing lists. You have to give your address exactly as it’s shown on the mailing label that they sent. Almost all of the junk mail had a Contact Us email or web site listed, so I didn’t have to research who to contact.

    My biggest gripe is catalogs. I took myself off every catalog mailing list, but every time I order something from the online store (hello, Hanna Andersson) I get put back on the list. OR, if someone orders a gift for me, I get put back on the list. I don’t know if Catalog Choice fixes that or not.


    The junk mail in PO Box is insane. We asked how to get off the list for the local advertisements and they told us there is no way. We have to get that mail.

    Not only does it take up valuable space in the mailbox, but it’s just such a waste of trees… it makes me sad and angry.


  • zsa zsa

    I like tip #3. Haha I so agree with you that junk mail is very wasteful! Because of the problem of junk mail, we also felt the need to tell people how they can get rid of it in our series, 31 Days to become Greener and Healthier. Here’s one of our tips on reducing junk mail: Register with the Mail Preference Service of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The DMA will list you in its database in the “Do Not Mail” category. Simply visit and follow their instructions for removal.