Ten Ways to Stop Junk Mail
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
What’s the Problem? In 1999, catalogs and other advertising mail in the U.S. waste stream weighed
5.6 million tons, destroying over 60 million trees. Nearly half is discarded unopened and unread.
Recycling unwanted or “junk” mail reduces garbage, but only 22% of this paper is recovered for
recycling. Even when recycled, junk mail can only be used for low quality products because of the inks,
glues, plastics and variety of paper types, not to mention the occasional shampoo sample or CD ROM.
The most effective way to conserve natural resources is to reduce production, or stop junk mail at its
Why do I get so much junk mail? There are many ways your junk mail can add up. When you
enter a contest, write a check, subscribe to a magazine, sign up for a credit card, fill out a warranty
card, join a professional association, make a donation, buy a house or car, or have a baby, your name
may be sold or traded.
How do I stop it?
1. Write the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service (P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY, 10512),
with your name, alternate names, complete address and signature. Contacting them will keep you off
member lists for five years. Not all direct marketing businesses are members of this organization, so
you also should directly contact businesses that send you unwanted mail.
2. Contact the credit card bureaus to stop unwanted credit card offers. Call the toll-free number 888-
567-8688 to opt out of the Trans Union, Equifax and Experian lists for two years. You can request a
form that will enable you to remove your name from these credit bureau lists permanently.
3. Directly contact all of the following and ask that they not rent, sell or exchange your name and
- your credit card companies
- your bank, credit union and mortgage company
- magazines to which you subscribe
- mail-order companies with which you have done business
- all organizations to which you belong or to which you have do