Empower Sustainability

End the Junk Mail Nightmare

rusty mailboxes
Written by Jessika Firmage

It blows me away how much junk mail this country produces.  What a complete waste of resources.  Most of us toss it anyway, whether into the trash, or the recycling, and the energy-suck continues.  It takes more and more resources to get it to the dump, or to get it to a recycling plant.  What about the amount of paper and not-so-safe inks it takes to produce these ads in the first place?

After getting my 1,274th piece of junk mail from Direct TV, I decided it was time to end this ridiculous wasteful cycle.  I kid you not.  I have received a mailing from them at least twice a week, every week, for a couple of years.  Unfortunately, it has been the last thing on my list of things to deal with.  I checked it off that list this morning.

What can we do to bring it to an end, reclaim control over our mailboxes, and the unsolicited advertising we allow in our homes?   I bet the mail carriers would be appreciative as well….lighten their load!

Here are some facts for you, if the junk mail wasn’t an issue for you yet:

  • 5.6 million tons of catalogs and direct mailing advertisements end up in U.S. landfills every year.

  • The average American Household receives the equivalent of 1.5 trees worth of junk mail every year, that is more than 100,000,000 trees country wide.

  • 44% of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half of that is recycled

  • Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of junk mail that doesn’t get recycled

What you can do:

  • Contact the Data Marketing & Analytics (DMA) and register with their Mailing Preferences Service, add your name to their Do Not Mail list

  • Remove yourself from mortgage, insurance and credit card offers at Opt Out Prescreen

  • If you do receive any unsolicited advertisements, catalogs, etc., call the 1-800 number on the mailing and ask to be removed from their mailing list.

  • Contact Catalog Choice, and opt out of any you do not wish to receive

  • When ordering anything, or filling out warranty cards, always note that you do not want your name rented, traded, shared or sold to any other companies, organizations or charities

  • Remove yourself from Phone Book deliveries:

    • DEX: 1-877-243-8339

    • Yellow Book: 1-800-929-3556 — renew every two years

    • Verizon: 1-888-266-5765

Following these easy steps will significantly reduce your load of junk mail.  I don’t know anyone who enjoys sifting through the junk to find relevant mail.  Imagine the impact we could have if all of us took action.

About the author

Jessika Firmage