You know the drill. You get home, you check your mail and it is full of… junk. Yes, the usual suspects. In your weekly junk mail you find the same offers in that blue envelope, the 2316th “best credit card offer of the year”, a few 10% discounts from retail stores (that you could also get online), donation requests full of stickers with your address that you don’t need, and maybe some bills – that unfortunately you can’t just recycle.
But, why, again? If you know already that you rarely care to even open some of these materials, why to receive them in the first place?
Here are five things you can do to reduce your direct mail volume:
1. Unsubscribe from Valpak – Each month,Valpak mails the blue envelope to almost 39 million households in 45 states and 4 Canadian provinces. Imagine the amount of paper wasted here! You can easily unsubscribe to Valpak here.
2. Unsubscribe to receive direct mail from retailers – To unsubscribe from retailers (you can choose to unsubscribe to all or choose specifically each ones), go to the Direct Marketing Association site. You can pay a small fee of $2 to unsubscribe from 10 years.
3. Unsubscribe to receive direct mail from credit bureaus – You can unsubscribe from credit cards and insurance offers for 5 years or permanently. Simply complete your options online here (note, the site doesn’t look super legit, but it is actually referenced in the Federal Trade Commission Site).
4. Contact your charity and ask them to only mail your home once a year – I donate to a few environmental organizations and also to Susan Komen once or twice a year, but I do get frequent requests, especially from the latter. I have messaged asking them to only mail me once a year – not sure if it will work, but I can also ask them to remove me altogether from the mailing list, if they can’t fulfill that request.
5. Sign up for online billing whenever is possible or convenient – most banks and credit card companies will encourage you to receive and pay your statements online. The printed statements are usually outdated from the time they send you and you get them anyway, so just put a reminder on your calendar to pay your bills, and get rid of the mail. This can usually apply to medical bills as well, but some small clinics or treatment centers may still need to send you a mail.
Why should I care about junk mail?
- Global consumption of paper has increased by 126% since 1980.
- Each year nearly 4 billion trees are cut to be used in paper production; this represents 35% of total trees cut around the world.
- According to the University of Southern Indiana, the average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year and most is packaging and junk mail.
- Printing and writing are the second largest global consumption category (26% of total), only losing for wrapping and packaging (55%) — yup, let’s talk about Amazon next.