Once upon a time (aka a very long time ago), I used to receive quality mail in my mailbox. Maybe it was a card, a note, a bill, or even a fun goodie I bought online, but there was always something in there that wasn't . . . junk. Today that doesn't seem to be the case. About 99 percent of the mail I get in the mailbox is a credit-card offer, a coupon, or some weird spam asking me to donate money, and I'll be honest: it all goes in the trash. Rarely do I receive something important to me (unless it's from the IRS or it's a debit card I've lost), and when I think about all the paper that's wasted and resources used to deliver this mail, it makes me sick. By stopping junk mail, the average person can save approximately 20 trees and 7,000 gallons of water in their lifetime. Additionally, it helps prevent global warming emissions by not contributing to the labor used to create and deliver it all.
I know I'm not the only one who's in this predicament with their mail, and if you're looking to cut down on receiving junk and help save the planet, there are quite a few options to get you started:
1. Put a Halt on Credit-Card and Insurance Offers
Credit-reporting agencies such as TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax have mailing lists that credit-card and insurance companies use to send you offers. Luckily, it takes all of one minute to put a halt to this and get your name and mailing address removed. To eliminate credit-card and insurance promotional offers, call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit OptOutPrescreen.com. You can choose a five-year removal (which can be done online or by phone) or a permanent removal (which requires a follow-up form).
2. Say Goodbye to Unwanted Phone Books
Let's face it: the only phone book you need is the contact list on your cell phone. To get rid of unnecessary phone books being delivered to your mailbox, head on over to TheRealYellowPages.com and opt out. It's free to do, and they typically have no problem accommodating your request (it saves them money in printing).
3. Get Off the Large List of Direct Marketers
Sign up with the Data & Marketing Association and remove your name from its mailing list (the DMA will only remove you from its mailing list for 10 years). There is a handling fee of $2 if you register online, and if you choose to mail in your opt-out request, there is a fee of $3.
4. Use an Online Service to Stop the Rest of the Junk
While it's nearly impossible to get rid of all junk mail, you can cut down on a huge portion of it by signing up with unlisting services. Both Catalog Choice and PaperKarma are good options for getting rid of direct and local mailers. Catalog Choice is free, but will only rid you of the 10,000 catalogs in its database. PaperKarma costs $4 a month, but works differently, allowing you to take pictures of your junk mail and unsubscribe from the sources.