Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Junkity Junk Mail

I eagerly fished my mail key out of my purse and barreled down the sidewalk toward the mailbox. While standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, I noticed the September issue of my most favorite magazine was on the newsstands. Hooray! That means my paid subscription is on it's way and could be waiting in my mailbox for me to lovingly flip it's pages and dog ear the stories I want to read twice. But alas, no. Plenty of mail, nothing of substance. Flyers, credit card offers, coupons that don't really offer any discounts, things addressed to Staphone Grin....where does this stuff come from? And how did these people get my address? Some days I don't have a single legitimate piece of mail in the bunch. Did you know the average household receives 41 pounds of junk mail a year? Forty one pounds! I'm trying to think of something that weighs 41 pounds so I can make a shocking comparison but I can't think of anything. But 41 pounds is a LOT of paper!

Junk mail isn't just annoying, it's ridiculously harmful to our planet. According to blogger Adam Bjerk, over 100 million trees are used annually so that we can be made aware of "Insanely Low Interest Rates." Of the 40 million tons of junk mail produced each year, almost half is directly deposited in landfills. Not recycled. Trashed. Not only that, Bjerk says that junk mail contributes to the obscenely lucrative business of buying and selling your personal information. Can we say identity theft? 

We will never be able to stop junk mail completely but I for one am tired of lugging it all home and sorting through it.  I don't know about you but I'm willing to sacrifice my 2% off carpet cleaning coupon for the life of the few trees we have left. Bjerk lists some ways to lighten the load on both your mailbox and your mind:

  • This will stop junk mail resulting from Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and Innovis giving out your credit score and history. Buh-bye prescreened offers!
  • Registering with the Direct Marketers Association, who represents hundreds of companies, will keep you off their mailing lists for five years.
  • Completing a U.S. Post Office Form 1500 is a great way to get rid of junk mail from specific organizations. Fill out the form, attach the opened piece of offending mail and take it to the post office. Bam!
  • Feeling lazy? This is the option for you. For a fee of 30 smackeroos, 41 Pounds will contact all the above agencies on your behalf and in so doing claim to reduce your junk mail by 85-90%. Plus, a portion of your fee goes to the eco-charity of your choice. Super informative site too!
I'm thinking the lazy woman's choice will be the one for me. 41 Pounds seems like a good deal. I like that while I pay someone to cover my bases, the money I gave them will be helping those who are stewards of the environment. And I really like that when I open my mailbox, my Martha Stewart magazine will be easily visible, unsullied by unwanted catalogs and mortgage refinance offers; a shining beacon of homemaking goodness waiting just for me.


  1. I can tell you a good comparison: I'm about 41 pounds overweight! That's a shocking amount of junk mail! Yikes. I HATE it too...good for you for addressing this issue (pardon the pun, but it's cute, isn't it!)

  2. Ugh. I hated getting the weekly junk mail, so we put a 'No Junk Mail Please' sign on the letterbox. We occasionally get the odd flyer or two (seems that the local immigrants who do the rounds don't seem to be able to read the sign) but nothing like we used to. No more catalogues from 3 or more supermarkets, 3 department stores, local pizza/chinese food etc places. Its great, I don't have to sit and sift through the junk anymore, which saves me time out of my week. If I want to see the specials, I go online and have a look!

  3. Great post with lots of resources. I hate junkmail also. Especially when it comes wrapped in plastic and you have to tear it open, separate it and then recycle it. It's just so ridiculous. And no one ever cares if you put the little sign up that says "no junk mail" argghh!! xo m.

  4. good advice!!!! we get SO much here...i usually use the envelopes as scrap paper...but is overwhelming!