The Ultimate List For Stopping Your Junk Mail

by heather

Courtesy Wikipedia

Courtesy Wikipedia

Ah, junk mail. According to experts we’ll spend 8 months of our life reading, sorting, and recycling the stuff. That’s a lot of time we could be devoting to napping, playing with our kids, reading, or pulling weeds.

Anything else, for that matter, besides dealing with junk mail.

Junk mail accounts for 1/3 of all mail sent in the United States. In fact, it’s estimated that each household gets over 800 pieces of junk mail per year.

Want to know how many trees that is?

100 million. Every single year. Just for junk mail.

This is equivalent to clear cutting all of Rocky Mountain National Park, every four months.

And the emissions from junk mail creation are terrible. According to DoNotMail.org, junk mail creates more emissions than 9,377,000 passenger cars each year.

And in spite of the major strides we’ve made in recycling, the Huffington Post reports that over 44% of junk mail ends up in landfills, unopened.

Sigh.

Yes, it hurts my heart to think about it. And although I signed up for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) “Do Not Contact” list, I still get stuff like Val-Pak coupons and flyers from my local furniture store. I recycle every bit it, of but still. Those are trees that don’t have to die.

So, here it is folks. All the resources I could find for stopping your junk mail. ALL OF IT.

1. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

I started with the DMA, and to give them credit I did see a pretty dramatic drop in my junk mail, especially when it came to credit card offers. You can customize your mailing preferences through the DMA by heading here.

If you’ve lost a family member and want to get their name off mailing list, you can sign up for Deceased-Do Not Contact through the DMA here.

2. Val-Pak

Yep, Val-Pak is that blue envelope of useless coupons that shows up every month. What a waste! Unless you’re re-asphalting your driveway or thinking about getting cellulite removal surgery, then these coupons are a waste of time and paper.

You can get off the Val-Pak mailing list here.

Yes, you’ll still need to do this even if you sign up with DMA. After I did DMA, I was still getting Val-Pak coupons.

3. Opt-Out Pre-Screen

Opt-Out Pre-Screen stops you from getting “pre-screened” or “pre-approved” credit card offers.

To sign up, click here.

You can also call 888-567-8688 from your home telephone to opt out.

4. Catalogs

If you get catalogs, it’s probably because you bought something. Anything.

Companies are notorious for selling lists, so if you bought a sweater through L.L. Bean then chances are you’ll start getting a J.Crew catalog, an REI catalog, and a Hearth and Home just for good measure.

If you want to stop the flood of catalogs, then send an email to: optout@abacus-us.com

Or write to:

Abacus, Inc.
P.O. Box 1478
Broomfield, Colorado  80038

5. Tacky Store Flyers

I wish I had a picture of the one I got today. It was a “HUGE FURNITURE BLOWOUT!!!!” newspaper type flyer from the local furniture store. I get them almost daily from car dealerships, hairdressers, pizza stores, department stores… blergh.

These are the flyers that are addressed to “Resident”. And they usually come from Red Plum marketing.

Want to stop them?

Click here to get off the Red Plum mailing list. You can also call: 888-241-6760.

6. Publishers Clearinghouse

Ok, I’ve never been solicited by Publishers Clearinghouse, but if you have, you can get off their list by sending an email to: privacychoices@pchmail.com.

7. Other Junk

So, what about those AOL cds and “Happy Birthday” cards from our dentist that we don’t want or need?

We just have to tell them we don’t want it. If, after signing up with all the resources listed above, you’re still getting some junk, then call the company directly. Ask them to take you off their mailing list.

They can hardly be rude; after all, this is saving them money too.

And your dentist? Ask the receptionist to take you off the mailing list except for cleaning reminders. Better yet, ask if they’ll email you.

Good luck!

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January 25, 2010 at 8:28 pm
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

shona~ lala dex press January 25, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Thanks for the Red Plum link. I did the Opt Out about 6 months ago + there are days when I have absolutely no mail! I love it. I do get tired of getting catalogs in the mail when I periodically purchase something online…then it’s a call to customer service, but Dick Blick, Layne Bryant (?!?!) + REI are next to impossible to get rid of, they will stop sending for a year + then it will start back up again.

JDog January 25, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Thank you for pulling this list together. While I’ve done most of this already, and support DMA, it’d be great if you could fix one error. It is, in fact, not a fact to say “In fact, each household gets over 800 pieces of junk mail per year.” If you want to say “it is estimated that each household gets….” I don’t get 800 pieces because I’ve already done most of the above, for example.

heather January 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

@JDog- Thanks for pointing that out. 800 pieces is, indeed, an estimation, so I’ll fix that promptly. Thanks for reading!

Ash January 28, 2010 at 8:06 am

Best posting EVER! One comment for those who are going to sign up. Protect your identity: don’t give your social security number out on the DMA web page. It is NOT required information.

Robin March 24, 2010 at 11:28 am

Love your list Heather! I’m getting right on your suggestions. Are you on twitter? Would love to follow you there. Thanks! Robin @bodybark (twitter)

heather March 24, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Robin,

I am on Twitter!

@GreenestDollar

I’m looking you up!

Mark Schlenger April 13, 2010 at 12:50 am

I’ve been trying to get rid of my junkmail I hate throwing all that paper away! My friend told me about this service to get rid of your junkmail called “GoodbyeJunkmail”… been using it for awhile and definitely noticed it working, bravo to them.

Jen September 8, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Those darn RedPlum mailers are the bane of my existence. I really hope this works! It would be a great idea to edit this post and tell readers NOT to put their social security number in the form.

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