Use these nine tips to help save some of the 100 million trees chopped down annually to produce junk mail in the United States:
- Register your name with the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service. After you do this, the DMA will add you to its "Do Not Mail" database.
- If you do business with a company via mail services, it will put you on its contact list. So the first time you make a transaction (such as placing an order) with that company, ask to be put on its "in-house suppress" or "do not promote" lists. Tell the company not to "rent" or share your name with other companies.
- To stop junk mail from credit card, mortgage, and insurance companies, try going to OptOutPreScreen.com which allows you to remove your name from lists generated by the four major credit bureaus-- Equifax, Innovis, TransUnion, and Experian.
- Get the Stop the Junk Mail Kit from the Consumer Research Institute. This kit comes with pre-addressed postcards for you to send to companies that send you those annoying catalogs, wasteful postcards, and unnecessary brochures.
- Several subscription services will reduce your junk mail for you. You can pay a fee to join Stop the Junk Mail which offers an online service to reduce junk mail. Also, check out GreenDimes - for a dime a day, this service will reduce your junk mail and plant a tree in your name every month.
- If you're fed up with other types of junk (faxes, email, phone calls, etc.), take a look at JunkBusters.com.
- Try calling the phone number listed under the publisher details on the junk mail. Often if you call or email, the company will remove you from the mailing list for a publication.
- If you've done everything above and there's still a trickle of junk still getting through, try one of these "Return to Waster" stamps, stamp the junk, and put it into a mailbox. Unless the marketer paid for first-class mail, the the junk isn't likely to make it back to the company; stamping the junk is more of an act of protest. The more people who do it, however, the more attention the issue will get.
- And if, after all that, a few pieces of junk mail get through, try upcycling. Turn your junk mail into pieces of art, bookmarks, packing materials, envelopes, and more.