We observe Earth Day once a year in April, although imagine what our earth would be like if we observed it daily. Let’s start with saving a tree.
Trees provide us with many valuable resources which are often overlooked. Most of us are not aware that they are critical in combating climate change by absorbing carbon from the earth’s atmosphere.
And then there is junk mail, which we are all inundated with, but did you know that it is a waste of our planet’s dwindling resources? It is astonishing to realize that the average person receives only 1.5 letters each week, compared to 10.8 pieces of junk-mail.
8 reasons to eliminate junk mail:
- It wastes 28-billion gallons of water for paper processing annually.
- Most junk mailers use inks with high concentrations of heavy metals in addition to high-gloss UV varnishes, which are difficult to recycle.
- More than 4-million tons of waste paper is tossed out per year.
- It costs $320 million dollars of taxpayers’ money to dispose of unsolicited mail each year.
- It costs $500 million dollars to transport junk-mail annually.
- Landfill space is getting to the point that it disfigures rural areas and pollutes our ground water.
- We each get about 40-pounds of junk mail a year – more than a tree’s worth of paper per family of four.
- It is estimated that 250,000 homes could be heated for a single day’s junk-mail.
Keep reading; there’s more…And learn how to take your name off the junk mail lists.
The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 44% of junk mail is discarded without being opened or read each year, equaling 4 million tons of wasted paper per year, with just 32% recovered for recycling.
100-million trees are chopped down each year, creating 4.5 million tons of junk-mail sent to American homes, and an estimated 28-billion gallons of water is also used on the production. And each day the forest in northern Canada’s majestic trees are cut to stumps, at a rate of 2 acres a minute, 24 hours a day, just to produce junk mail and other paper products.
Our local taxes are used to dispose of this junk mail we didn’t even want in the first place.
Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 trees, 6,953 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 3.06 cubic yards of landfill space, and 4,077 kilowatt hours of energy.
Below are some ways to stop receiving junk mail:
This may take time to do, but it is well worth it.
- Get Your Address Off Circular and Bulk Mail Lists
Write to “Mail Preference Service, PO Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735.” A postcard or hand-scribbled note will do: just let them know that no one at your address wants to receive any circulars.
This will completely remove your address from all circular databases. If your carrier unthinkingly puts your neighbor’s circular in your box. just pop it in the outgoing mail, and this time they have to look at the address to see where it needs to go.
- Stop Credit Card Offers
Dial 1-888-567-8688 or visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com. Most credit card companies will remove you from lists created by agencies such as Equifax, Trans Union, Experian and Innovis. That call will remove you from all lists. You will have the opportunity to choose either a five-year removal or a permanent removal. For your personal credit cards, ask the company to place you on their “in house” list that is not sold or traded to other companies.
You’ll have to give them your addresses for the past two years and they may ask for your social security number (although, they already have your social security number,
they just want to make sure they’ve got exactly the right person).
- Opt Out of DMA (Direct Marketing Association)
DMA is one of the top mailing list providers that companies buy addresses from. To opt out and remove your name from being included in any databases they sell to businesses, go to: http://www.dmachoice.org. It can take up to 90 days for the flow to stop since many mailings are already in print or production. The link to it is at the bottom, and it’s a popup window.
Note: There is now a small fee of $2 to unsubscribe through DMA Choice.
- Stop Unwanted Phone Books and Catalogs
CatalogChoice is a free service that helps you opt out of catalogs you don’t want. If you’re getting a lot of catalogs from shops where you have rewards cards, they can help you navigate the complicated opt-out process.
To opt out of the Yellow Pages, go online to Dex. They are happy to take you off the list as it saves them money by not printing unwanted catalogs.
- “Refused: Return to Sender”
If a piece of unwanted mail says “return service requested”, “forwarding service requested”, “change service requested” or “address service requested,” write “Refused: Return to Sender” (exact words) on the unopened envelope and pop it right back in the outgoing mail.
This forces the USPS to return it, and when most businesses get back mail like this, they remove you from their mailing list rather than keep wasting money on you.
- “Take Me Off Your Mailing List”
Some companies actually take you off their mailing lists if you just call them or email them and make that request. This is important when you deal with companies that send you junk mail as well as useful correspondence.
Let them know you want your contact information used only by their company, and only for them to send you necessary correspondence. That eliminates them sharing your data in any way with other companies for their mailing lists.
- The Postage-Paid Envelope Trick
If you’ve already opened a piece of junk mail, but it has a postage-paid return envelope, here’s a good trick. Write your return address and name on the postage-paid return envelope.
Seal the postage paid envelope, empty, and pop it right back in the mail.
- Stop Junk Promo Products
First, look for any of the following phrases: return service requested; forwarding service requested; address service requested; or change service requested. If you find any of these phrases, write “refused, returned to sender” on the unopened envelope.
Mail sent to “Resident,” “Current Resident,” or “Current Occupant” can be refused if it contains one of the above endorsements, or is sent First Class. When you receive unsolicited promo products, you can mark the envelope “Return to Sender” and put it back in the mail.
- Contributions to Charities, Not Extra Mailings
If you contribute once a year to a charitable organization, ask them to send you only one donation request per year. The American Institute on Philanthropy offers several tips on reducing junk mail and phone solicitations from charities at https://www.charitywatch.org/charitywatch-articles/seven-tips-for-reducing-unwanted-mail-and-phone-appeals/43
- Get Off ALL Direct Marketers
There are several smaller list brokers and direct marketing firms in the U.S. besides the DMA (Direct Marketing Association). You’ll recognize a lot of them on the list below. Just as you did with the DMA in step one, send or phone in all the variations of your name and address to the list brokers and direct marketing firms listed below. Start saving the labels of all the variations of the names and addresses, which come to your mailbox. Every variation, no matter how small, is another name on a list which gets sold to literally thousands of businesses, so include all variations! If you prefer to go the snail mail route in removal, cut and paste actual mailing labels onto a sheet, make copies, add your signature beside each name variation on each sheet, and send them off to each of the 3 addresses below. Indicate the following: “Please remove my name and address from your mailing lists and do not rent, sell or trade my name or address.”
1 Valpak Ave. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
Have the Valpak mailing label handy and fill in your information exactly as it is printed. If you like coupons but don’t want to receive all that mail, go to www.valpak.com to choose and print coupons by geographical location.
Valassis Direct Mail, Inc.
PO Box 249
Windsor, CT 06095
1-800-437-0479, between 8:30 and 5:00 EST
Unsubscribe from their RetailMeNot publication here:
Epsilon Data Services
Abacus Cooperative Databases
Send an email with “remove” in the subject line and your full name, including middle initial, and address in the message. If you changed your address over the past six months, include your previous address as well.
Make kindness a habit.
To Your Success,
Peak Performance Coach