Win the War Against Junk Mail in 4 Simple Steps

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Win the war against junk mail in 4 simple steps

American households are bombarded with around 70 pounds of unwanted mail every year! A study by the Consumer Research Institute showed that around 44% of bulk mail is discarded unopened, yet we each still spend 8 months of our lifetime opening what remains!  Such a shame to think that all of that junk mail could have happily remained in the forest where it belonged.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons


Stopping the endless flow of useless paper into our homes will not only declutter and reduce irritation, it will also be saving energy! Trees, water and fuel are wasted in producing unwanted catalogues and flyers.

Claudia Thompson, author of Recycled Papers: The Essential Guide reports that it takes approximately 24 trees and 2,500+ gallons of water to produce one tonne of junk mail paper……in other words 96 million trees just in the States. Less than half of this is recycled according to the EPA, which means that a staggering 48 million trees are discarded every single year!

Fortunately there are steps that you can take to stem the tide of junk.

1. Direct Marketing Association

The Direct Marketing Association is a great place to start. Almost 3,600 companies are represented by the DMA and they are under obligation to respect your wished. You can easily opt-out of receiving mailers for free online following this link. You can do the same for email here. Just visualise that beautiful empty inbox!

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

2. Catalogues

Epsilon’s Abacus Cooperative is a marketing tool used by many retail companies and catalogues. Information is shared between groups about customer in exchange for new potential customers. You can opt out by phone or email.  Send your full name and addresses from the last 6 months to or phone 1-888-780-3869, leaving those same details.junkmail

3. Credit Bureaus

A large percentage of junk mail is made up of pre-approved offers of credit from credit card companies. You can opt out of these online by visiting in the States, to calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) to be removed from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, the three largest credit reporting agencies. This will need to be done around every five years.

Those steps should deal with the majority of junk that arrives through your mail, but there are likely to be others that slip through the net. You simply need to call the company sending the unwanted mail and request to be removed from their mailing lists. It will save you time and irritation in the future, so it is worthwhile taking a moment to call.Unknown

4. What can you do with the pile of mail sitting on your counter?

Consider an alternative to chucking it all into landfill. You can try some of the following instead:

Recycling – This is the easiest way to stay green. Put your unwanted letters (not containing confidential information) into paper recycling bins.

Compost – Separate out glossy mail or plastic and use the paper as brown matter. Shred or tear to pieces first.

Mulch – Shred your unwanted paper and use as mulch in the garden.

Animal Bedding – Let your hamster make a cosy nest with your unwanted shreds of paper.

With these easy steps you can play your part in stopping the waste of precious trees to unwanted junk. The steps are simple and will only take a few moments to complete. What is your experience of junk mail?

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