Junk Mail Overload

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Is your mailbox bursting at the seams with junk mail? Take heart -- you are not alone. It's illegal in Illinois to receive telemarketing calls if you've logged your name with the state's Do Not Call list, but junk mail presents a different problem. The average family receives a tree-and-a-half worth of junk mail a year. A staggering 44 percent of that mail is unopened before it finds its way into the trash or a recycling bin. Once in the waste stream, 28 billion gallons of water are used to process paper from junk mail. About $320 million in local taxes are spent annually to dispose of the millions of tons of unsolicited mail.

Luckily, there are many options available to reduce the junk mail that you receive. I have used multiple tactics and have reduced my junk mail to almost nothing. Many of them are just a click or a phone call away.

National Do Not Mail List
• Consumer Credit Reporting Companies' Opt Out list (though they may still sell your info)
ADVO Consumer Support (the mail sporting pictures of missing children). Opt out by phone: 1-860-285-6100
Direct Mailing Association – costs $1
• Call the 800 number on the back of catalogs and ask them to remove your address.
• Return unopened junk mail to sender by writing “return to sender, refused” on the envelope.
• Call your credit card companies and request no promotional mail. They are one of the main culprits for selling your mailing info.
• Remember that when you give out your address to companies, it may get you on a mailing list and get sold to other companies. Request not to be on mailing lists from the beginning.
• Spread the word. Magnify your efforts by getting your family, friends and coworkers fighting for the cause.
• The Federal Trade Commission also offers a number of options for consumers wishing to avoid junk mail, telemarketing and spam email.

There is hope. It may take a couple months to see that fruits of you labor, but the trees will be grateful.


Not meaning to shill for anyone, but I signed up with a service called Green Dimes (greendimes.com) that takes care of all of this for me for $36/year (about a dime a day, hence their name) plus planting a tree per month.

When they had trouble with some companies that didn't accept a third-party request, they even sent me a stack of preprinted, stamped mailing cards that I just had to sign my name to and drop into the mail. They are also working on improving their capacity for dealing with all of the glut of catalogues.

This stuff is a hassle, and I for one decided that my time was worth more than the small cost of this service. I've been with them practically since I saw their first announcement and I really have seen a reduction in my junk mail. And they even added my wife's name for free when I got married. They also covered the $1 fee to get removed from the DMA list.

I have no relationship with the company at all, other than being a satisfied customer.

Posted by: greg ehrendreich on February 3, 2007 2:43 PM

To piggyback on Greg's comment, TerraPass highlighted Green Dimes on their blog. Check it out and learn more about the way this service functions.


Posted by: Patrick on February 21, 2007 9:23 AM

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