Electronic junk mail is an inconvenience, and various software can prevent it; but the paper junk mail that fills your mailbox is another matter. It is not just an inconvenience; many are concerned about the negative effects on the environment that so much junk mail may produce. Of course, trees are required in massive numbers to produce the enormous volume of junk mail (approximately 41 pounds or 1.5 trees per household per year) that takes up so much space in your mailbox and home.
When you do receive junk mail, you can help by recycling it. But if more people would simply stop the flow of junk mail to their residences, then fewer households would receive it and, hopefully, this would result in less junk mail being produced overall. Here are some tips on how you can help stop (or significantly decrease) the flood of junk mail coming into your home.
Guard Your Personal Information
Most of us think we do a pretty good job at guarding our personal information, but there are subtle ways that companies can get your name on a mailing list that you may not have thought about. For example, when you fill out a warranty card, respond to a sweepstakes, or even fill out a slip for a raffle, your name may end up on a mass mailing list.
You really don’t need to fill out warranty cards – sources point out that keeping the receipt from your purchase should be sufficient. The chances of winning a sweepstakes or raffle are so slim that it is really not worth the junk mail avalanche that follows.
When you are filling out forms at the hospital, library, or any other “official” organization, make a clear note that you do not want your personal information shared. Also, you don’t usually need to give your social security card for something like a library card. Ask the organization why they need your SSN before giving it out.
When you change homes or jobs, junk mail can follow you. This may be because you filled out a “change of address” form at the post office. Instead of making this public declaration of your new mailing address, inform your friends, family, and colleagues privately of your new information.
Off the Lists
Getting your name off of mailing lists is an important step in stopping junk mail. There are several approaches to this.
* Contact each company and tell them to remove you from their mailing list. For example, if you receive a More Stuff catalogue, you could call More Stuff and tell them you no longer wish to receive catalogues from them. This approach takes time, but it tends to be the most effective.
* Contact the direct marketers that sell your name to individual companies. The Direct Marketing Association is one of the major marketers.
* Catalogchoice.org offers a list of over 1,000 catalogues, and you simply choose from this list the catalogues you do not wish to receive. Catalogchoice.org does require some of your personal information to sign up, but sources say this is for identification only; giving out this information is not supposed to generate more junk mail.
With some deliberate and specific effort, you can greatly reduce the amount of junk mail you receive.