Trying to stop junk mail from coming to my house has been quite the challenge. Thankfully, there are now a number of services out there that aid in the process!
Alright folks, get ready for a rant.
Junk mail may be one of the most infuriating things I encounter at my home. Way more than half of what I receive each day just ends up in the recycling bin. Insurance marketing, solicitations, restaurant flyers, and about twelve duplicate advertisements for cable and credit cards come to my door every single day.
Remember when I told you that preventing the creation of just one ton of office paper can save approximately 24 mature trees?
Yeah. That’s what I see when I open my mailbox.
I’ll be honest with you: trying to stop junk mail from coming to my house may be one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced since starting Zero Waste. I mean that. I’ve spent countless hours on the phone with businesses trying to get them to cut the crap and stop sending me mail.
Thankfully, there are now a number of services out there that aid in the process. And I’m so thankful for them!
5 Services That Will Help You Get Rid of Junk Mail
Each of these online services involve registering for an account and then going through a checklist process of opting out of mail you don’t want. Pretty handy! They won’t take care of 100% of your junk mail, but they should help quite a bit.
CatalogChoice.org is a free service that helps you get rid of junk mail and unwanted magazines. Just create an account and select the companies you wish to stop receiving direct mail from. This one is very easy to navigate!
DMAChoice.org helps you manage your mail by opting out of groups like Credit Offers, Catalogs, Magazine Offers and Other Mail Offers. Remove yourself from entire groups at once, or hone in on a specific company.
Opt Out Prescreen
OptOutPrescreen.com is the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website to process opt-in and opt-out requests from consumers related to credit or insurance. Heck yes!
41Pounds.org will handle the vast majority (they say 80-95%) of your junk mail and catalogs for a fee. The service costs $35, but a donation of $10 goes directly to partner nonprofits like American Forests, The Center for Biological Diversity, Trees for the Future, and several others! Love it.
What To Do With the Junk Mail You Receive
Go ahead and examine the contents of your mailbox. Pull out the pieces you don’t want or need and attack them right away!
Go to CatalogChoice.org to cancel catalogs, or call the catalog number directly. Don’t tolerate them.
Do not open the letter. Write “Refused – Return to Sender” and “Take Me Off Your Mailing List” on the front of the unopened envelop, then send back with outgoing mail the next day.
Mail Addressed to Previous Residents
Fill out a U.S. Postal Service change-of-address card for each prior resident for whom you receive mail.
In lieu of a new address, just write: “Moved, no forwarding address” and sign your name by writing “Form filled by current resident of home: [your name]. Agent for the above.”
Hand to your postal carrier or clerk.
Standard Third-Class Mail
Do not open these either. Write “Refused – Return to Sender” and “Take Me Off Your Mailing List” on the front of the unopened envelop, then send back with outgoing mail the next day.
Your other option is to open it and look for contact information, then call to be taken off the mailing list.
Local Bulk Mail
Community-born mailing like this (such as community education catalogs) are not addressed to specific names or addresses, but to “local” or “postal customer.”
Because these mailings are sent by carrier route, the postal supervisor or carrier is not allowed to return to sender. He/she will just throw them away, which is not what you want!
The best way to reduce production of these mailings is to contact the sender directly and convince them to choose a different type of postage (i.e. one that is direct to a name) or to opt for online communication instead.
Put on that Leslie Knope attitude and get to it!
Specific Instructions for Valpak and Others
Still receiving mail? First, call each offender directly and ask to be removed from their mailing lists. Second, use these forms to get off the list of all direct marketers like Valpak (by Cox Target Media), Red Plum (By Valassis Direct Mail, Inc.), and Abacus (By Epsilon).
Wishing you luck in the fight!
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