GIMME SHELTER-Got junk mail? Opt out and save some trees
My Recycling Club
PHOTO BY WILL WALKER
Q:We are dutiful recyclers, but what can we do to stop the flow of junk mail to our house? It seems like such a waste.
A: The scourge of junk mail we receive on a daily basis has a major impact on our tree population. That's because the average American receives more than 500 pieces of junk mail a year. That works out to 30 pounds of mail for every American– or one tree per household annually. Much of this mail goes unopened and then to landfills.
Believe it or not, 65 million trees are chopped down annually to produce the nation's junk mail, along with 28 billion gallons of water. The energy used is enough to power over a million households a year. According to recent studies, if everyone in the US was able to reduce the average amount of junk mail they receive each week, we could save nearly 100 million trees each year!
Here are a few tips on how:
Don't let your name get passed around. Anytime you enter a contest, subscribe to a magazine, send in a warranty card, or give out your name and address for any reason, there's chance you'll be put on a mailing list. Make sure to write "Please do not rent or sell my name" or "No mailing lists" next to your name.
Contact the Direct Marketing Association and register with their Mail Preference Service. This sends a strong message that you do not want to be contacted by solicitors, and marketers won't waste their time with people who have registered. This is a free service and good for five years, but it works only for national mail solicitations and residential addresses. On a postcard, include the date, your name, address and signature, and write "Please register my name with the Mail Preference Service." Mail it to: Mail Preference Service: c/o Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.
Credit reporting agencies such as TransUnion, Experian, Equifax, and Innovis maintain mailing lists that are often used by credit card and insurance companies to send out junk mail. The good news is that you can opt out by calling 1-888-5-optout (1-888-567-8688).
If you're tired of receiving all those catalogs, simply call the toll-free company number on the catalog and request to be removed from their mailing list. You can also send a post card or send the company an email. Make sure you have the mailing label on the catalog handy as the information on it will help them identify how you are listed in their files.
Don't have time? If you find you don't have time for all this, you can visit 41pounds.org and pay a one-time fee of $41 to have them do it for you. They promise to remove 95 percent of the junk mail you receive by contacting each organization from which you receive mail and/or catalogs.