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 41pounds.org. For $41, or a little over $8 a year, 41pounds.org 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