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Fight off Unwanted Junkmail

Why Should I Stop Receiving Junk Mail?

The average person wastes about 70 hours a year dealing with junk mail!

However, even beyond being an almost daily annoyance, unwanted junk mail has a huge impact on the environment. As of 2003...

  • The average person gets only 1.5 personal letters each week, compared to 10.8 pieces of junk mail.
  • Each person will receive almost 560 pieces of junk mail this year.
  • Approximately 40% of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is paper and paperboard waste.

As of 2012...

  • More than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. 42% of timber harvested nationwide becomes pulpwood for paper.
  • About 28 billion gallons of water are wasted to produce and recycle junk each year.
  • The world's temperate forests absorb 2 billion tons of carbon annually. Creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars.

How Do Companies Get My Information?

Any time you make a purchase and provide your address information, your name and address will end up on a mailing list. These mailing lists can be used by the company from whom you make purchases and, unless you notify them otherwise, can be rented to other companies as a part of mailing lists.

Any additional information you provide can and often will be added to your profile in order to provide connections to more offers. This information can come from a variety of places:

  • Purchases/Rentals/Returns
  • Product/Warranty Registration Cards
  • Consumer Surveys
  • Loyalty Card Applications

Using the Help of an Agency to Cut Down Junk Mail:

The Mail Preference

Catalogue Choice

The Opt Out Prescreen Service

Fighting the Junk Mail Yourself:

  • Do not reply to junk mail! This will release even more of your information.
  • Get an unlisted telephone number, or decline to add your address to the phone book.
  • Check when you mail-order to be certain that your name and address are not being given out to any other companies. Often somewhere on the check-out/application page there is a small check box regarding your information, or it is included in the terms of service. Do the same for any organizations that you join. All of these must ask your permission before sending out this info.
  • Double check registration card benefits. Often times these cards give little or nothing in return for registering, but allow companies to file your name and address for their lists. Skip most of them.
  • If you do decide to fill out registration cards for products/warranties, fill in only minimal information: name, address, date of purchase, and product serial number. Other questions about your hobbies, family, income, etc are not used for warranty but to profile you for more direct mailings.
  • Notify mailers that you wish to receive mail from directly when you move, rather than filing change-of-address forms with the Postal Service. These address forms get sent out to general mailing lists as well as the mail that you actually wish to receive.
  • Switch to digital or online sources for some of your mail.

Contact Direct Marketers and Companies Directly

  • Check online at the sites of companies from which you receive junk mail. Sometimes you can apply to be emoved from the mailing list online.
  • Take some time collecting the labels off of the junk mail you receive--then contact the customer service departments directly. you'll need the labels in order to read them off the exact names and codes.
  • If you find out that the mailer cannot remove you from the list, it may be that this mailer has rented the list from another company. Try to find out where they received their information from. Some companies will deny you, but it can't hurt to ask. If you do get a name, pursue this company instead.
  • X out your address on the unopened envelope and barcode and write across it "Refused: Return to Sender." The post office will return it and eventually companies will omit you. Why does it work? Because often times the sender will have to pay for the return postage, costing them extra money to mail to you.
  • As a last resort, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or with the Federal Trade Commision