Stop Junk Mail

Did you know that you can live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and simultaneously reduce the amount of annoying junk mail that you receive by 90%? If this interests you, by all means, read on.

There is a nonprofit organization based in Maryland called the Center for a New American Dream (CNAD), and according to recent information that they’ve gathered, systematically reducing the amount of junk mail that hits your mailbox will save energy, natural resources, landfill space, tax dollars, and of course your sanity. For instance:
• 5.6 million tons of direct mail advertisements like catalogs and newsletters end up in U.S.landfills every year.
• The typical American household receives an amount of unsolicited junk mail equal to about 1.5 trees every year. That adds up to more than 100 million trees total for all U.S. households.
• Some estimates indicate that Americans spend on average about 8 full months opening junk mail throughout the course of their lives.
• 44% of junk mail is discarded unopened, but only a small portion of it (about 22%) is recycled.
• American citizens pay $370 million each year to dispose of junk mail that never gets recycled.

Hopefully by now you are convinced that you should make an effort to reduce the amount of junk mail that you are receiving. But how exactly do you do that? For starters, register with the Mail Preference Service of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Keep your expectations reasonable. It will most likely not completely free you from all junk solicitations, but it can make a huge difference. When you register, the DMA adds you to it’s “Do Not Mail” list in its database. Although direct mailers are not legally require to check the database, most big companies that send junk mail in large volumes use the DMA service. They recognize that people that take those measures to avoid getting junk mail are now the people that they want to be targeting anyway, and prefer to save the money on postage.

In addition, it is very much advisable that you visit OptOutPreScreen.com, where you can remove your name from lists that are used by several credit card, mortgage and insurance companies. The site is run by the big four major credit bureaus in the United States: Experian, Equifax, Innovis and TransUnion.

Most reputable businesses check with at least one of these companies before accepting your credit application or authorizing credit to you for a long-term purchase. They also have vast databases of names and addresses that are routinely accessed by credit card, mortgage and insurance companies alike, in order to send out junk mail to potential new customers. Luckily, the Fair Credit Reporting Act contains a provision that expressly states that credit bureaus must delete your information from their databases upon consumer request.

As an additional step, it might be a good idea to contact the businesses that you regularly patronize to let them know that you would like your name added to their list of customers to not send any solicitations to. Any company that values your business will be more than happy to oblige. Follow these steps and you’ll be doing yourself and your environment a great service!