Saturday, October 15, 2016

How To Stop Junk Mail

The average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year. Not only does junk mail clog up our mailboxes, it also wreaks havoc on the environment. Nearly half of the junk mail received annually (44 percent) ends up in a landfill. In addition, nearly $320 million in local tax money is used to dispose of junk mail, and more than 100 million trees are used to create pulpwood for paper products. While the United States Postal Service does not have a one-stop method for reducing junk mail, there are many ways to reduce the amount you receive.

Black out the bar code and address on all junk mail that is delivered using first class postage. Put a circle around the postage and write "Not accepted: return to sender." This can be put in any mail box, and it will be returned to the business that sent it.
Request a 1500 form from the U.S. Postal Service to stop the delivery of sexually explicit material.
Call 1-800-5 OPT OUT to stop mail generated from the three major credit reporting agencies. This will stop the majority of credit card offers.

Contact by phone, mail or email all companies that send out catalogs and request to be taken off their mailing lists.

Call 1-800-645-9242 to be taken off the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes Mailing list.

Contact American Family at 1-800-237-2400 to be removed from its sweepstakes mailing list.

Call or write the Direct Marketing Association (see Resources) and ask them to activate the preference service. This will eliminate close to three quarters of all direct mail for 5 years. You will need to sign up again after 5 years.


Opt Out Directly (When Possible)

Each year your bank or credit card company should be sending you a Privacy Notice. Ironically, this isn't junk mail. In fact, this notice gives you the opportunity to opt out of some marketing and "sharing" practices (translation: selling your info). If you missed that notice and thought it was junk mail, just contact your financial institution and ask about the privacy policy. These opt out opportunities should be available at any institution that handles your money, like an insurance company, an auto dealer you arranged financing with, and even a check cashing place. If they've dealt with your money, they may have a way of opting out so take advantage of it directly.

Another option is to sign up for TrustedID Mail Preference Service. The service is free and you can search for an individual company or organization and find the opt out instructions. You can even find out how to prevent phone book delivery.

Remove Yourself from Marketing Lists

The Direct Marketing Association via DMACHOICE.org will contact direct mail companies and inform them you wish to opt out of any offers they may have. This includes companies you haven't done business with. When you register online you can opt-out of catalogs, magazines, credit offers and "other" mail offerings. To reduce credit card offers only, you can use OptOutPrescreen.com. Both services are independent of each other, so be cautious and sign up for both.

Alternatively, previously mentioned41pounds will opt your family out of offers for $35, which lasts for 5 years. They claim a more comprehensive opt out than the other free options.

Use Electronic Billing

Even if you opt out, some companies may send you junk mail in inserts when you receive your bills. If you switch to an electronic statement, you can prevent this problem. Some companies even charge you less if you switch to paperless billing. You can often do this right from their web site.

Avoid Print Magazine Subscriptions

Magazines often result in an avalanche of junk mail as they sell your information to third-party companies. The publisher may allow you to opt-out of selling your information to third parties, but with a large publisher they can still cross-promote other products within the same brand. Even without the third-party junk mail, the publisher still berates you constantly to renew your subscription. The one piece of junk they won't remove is those annoying insert cards that fall out of the magazine that litter everywhere.

When possible, choose an electronic version of the magazine or start a magazine trade at the office to give your career a boost. If you tend to bring a magazine to a waiting room or a gym, ask the business owner to subscribe to your favorite magazines. Subscriptions are cheap and a great way of accommodating customers.

Donate to a Few Select Charities Instead of Many

If you donate to charity, good for you! But charities often sell your name to other organizations to make money. Smaller gifts barely recoup the costs. Charity Navigator recommends making larger gifts to fewer organizations, rather than many smaller gifts. This maximizes your contribution and gets your name on fewer lists. You may also give to charities anonymously using NetworkforGood.

USPS mail hold

How to stop junk mail

USPS change of address

USPS tracking

US post office hours

2 comments: