Five Surefire Ways to Get Rid of Junk Mail

If you’re like me, you love getting mail. The holiday cards, the thank you notes, etc. There is little more exciting than the sound of opening an envelope and reading a real piece of mail. But what I hate is the junk mail. Specifically the catalogs that clog my mailbox and pile up day after day.

Turns out that more than 19 billion catalogs are mailed to households in the United States every year. That’s 63 catalogs for each man, woman and child in the US. Well, I wanted to put an end to this flood of useless mail.  I knew my family was getting a ton of these unwanted, unrequested catalogs from companies like LL Bean, Land’s End, Victoria’s Secret, Restoration Hardware and a whole host of other companies well (frankly, for me, it was eighty-two companies). Eighty-two, that is how many different companies have sent me a mail-order catalogs in the past 2 months.  That is more than one catalog a day not including repeat catalogs! That’s a lot of junk mail.

How do I know it is eighty-two?  About two months ago I began using Catalog Choice, a free service that contacts mail-order companies for you to remove your name from their mailing lists.  I knew I received a lot of catalogs but I had no idea that is was SOOO many.

Using the Environmental Defense Fund paper calculator, Catalog Choice calculated the impact of all these catalogs on our environment. More than 53 million trees are need make 3.6 million tons of paper and 38 trillion BTUs of energy are need to produce the paper (enough to power 1.2 million households per year.) This process emits 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide equal to annual emissions of 2 million cars — significantly contributing to global warming.

More that 53 billion gallons of wastewater is discharged to create the catalog paper — enough to fill 81,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  This doesn’t even take into account the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by the US Post Office from delivering these useless pieces of paper.

Since its launch last year, almost one million people have joined Catalog Choice and already opted out of 13,117,365 catalogs.  More than 1,000 companies have joined in to help people opt out of getting their catalogs, but there are a few that have decided not to participate.  Out of the 82 companies on my list just Garnet Hill, the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Store, Nordstroms, and Title Nine are not participating.  To date, 22 companies on my list have confirmed the opt out and Catalog Choice is working on the rest.

Catalog Choice is not the only service out there. For a fee, GreenDimes and 41pounds.org will get rid of unwanted junk mail and catalogs. OptOutPrescreen.com will stop unwanted credit or insurance offers. Even the Direct Marketing Association offers ways to remove your name and address for mailing list.

It is so easy you have to try.  All you have to do is input them, and Catalog Choice does the rest.

Let me know how many catalogs you get rid of!

To read more of my posts check out my blog Green Luvin’ and join me on Facebook.

About Melissa Goldberg

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for the shout-out on GreenDimes! I just wanted to let you and your readers know that GreenDimes also has a free service (GreenDimes Basic) that offers a catalog screener (as Catalog Choice does) AND do-it-yourself instruction on getting off all the direct mail lists. For a fee of $20, our Premium Service will cover all catalogs and junk mail and we do all the work for you.

    Hope you check it out!

  2. Silent Spring says:

    OMG! I have been going through this same thing. A few months ago I mistakenly ordered something out of a cheezy catalog. Shortly thereafter, the catalogues started flooding my mailbox — catalogues I didn’t even know existed — and even porno. What I started to do is cut the label off, write in black marker “please remove from your mailing list” and then mail it off. I realized how stupid that was at the cost of stamps as well as time consuming. So now, every time I get a catalogue in the mail (and it’s starting to dwindle) I immediately call the 1-800 on the back and have my address removed.

    I do think that once your address gets out there, it’s nearly impossible to stop junk mail completely. It just keeps rearing its ugly head.

    I’ll give GreenDimes a try. Thanks so much!!

  3. I happen to be one of the owners of MyJunkTree and as a new company I search the web to see if we are getting any visibility out there and I post on relevant blogs.

    We launched the company because we were tired of all the junk mail we were receiving and we personally did not want to bounce all over the web to contact all the different companies to stop it all. First and foremost we wanted to let people choose what they wanted to let come to their home knowing that some people really do like some of the coupons and catalogs. So our clients choose what they want stopped.

    We also had to provide a service that is different than the other services out there, so here is what we offer:

    1. We have a database of over 1300 catalogs that you can choose to stop.
    2. We have over a 2000 charities/Non-Profits that you can stop solicitations from.
    3. Stop the delivery of the national phone directories.
    4. Stop the delivery of the weekly coupons.
    5. Stop the general credit card offers as well as the ones from your own major bank.
    6. Stop the miscellaneous junk mail from the data brokers.
    7. You can register on the National Do Not Call Registry from the website.
    8. You can order your no strings attached free annual credit report right from the website.
    9. We plant trees with every new membership.

    And, yes we are a paid service and yes you can do everything that we do for free, if you want to do all the research and spend the time contacting the companies yourself it can easily be done. We have just done all of the legwork for our clients and feel there is value in the service we provide.

  4. Just wanted to let you all know that know that I just got two more today. Now I am up to 84!

  5. Silent Spring says:

    I got two new ones today, too! I immediately went to the phone, called the 1-800 numbers and got it taken care of.

  6. I guess there are more than 5 ways to stop junk mail. We have another service called http://www.stopthejunkmail.com and have been helping consumers define their mail preferences for over 7 years now.

  7. I hate junk mail, it is such a waste. Thanks for sharing this info and thanks for such a great and informative site.

    I left you a surprise over at:
    http://newearthminerals.blogspot.com/

  8. Catalog Choice and GreenDimes are great ways to stop unwanted catalogs. However, these fabulous services only benefit one party involved – The Consumer.

    The other party involved, Catalogers, are not legally bound to comply with the above services. Many of them still go about sending thousands of unwanted catalogs. What they need is some incentive OR alternative way to market their products.

    So after several months of effort we came up with an eco-friendly alternative to the paper catalog – flash catalog – something that benefits the Catalogers. eCatalog Creator is a digital publishing service which converts a paper publication into an online version. The page flip effect gives the feel of a paper catalog without its harmful effects.

    It’s been a couple of months now and we have received several conversion requests already. Glad that we are doing our bit to save the trees, and helping Catalogers to do the same.

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