100 Day Challenge #32: Put a stop to junk mail
A few years ago we started getting really annoyed by all the junk mail we were receiving. Is it just us or is junk mail getting worse when we're supposed to be living in a digital world? Each day we would walk out to the mailbox to find it full of unwanted and wasteful paper. Companies were taking away our time and throwing away our world resources, and we hadn't asked for any of these papers!
Direct mail marketing in the US is a $10 billion industry that results in 85+ billion pieces of junk mail per year and half of this junk mail ends up in landfills unopened.
We started a search to figure out how we could make all this junk mail craziness stop, and here are some of the resources we found. It takes some time and persistence at first, but you'll be reaping the rewards in just a few months when you notice you're not getting a mailbox full of junk and you're not hauling useless paper from your mailbox into your home and out to the trash.
We suggest taking all four of these steps to put a stop to your junk mail and make sure no sneaky mailings slip through the cracks!
Prescreened credit card and insurance offers: these are some of the biggest offenders of junk mail and the envelopes are usually stuffed full of marketing material. To opt out of receiving unsolicited offers for new credit cards and insurance, call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com. This is the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry service and is operated by Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion. Heads up: it'll ask you for your social security number. We were a bit skeptical about providing this at first but did our research and this website really is legit.
Those random catalogs and flyers: RetailMeNot and Valpak are two good places to start to unsubscribe from all of those random marketing catalogues and coupon books you get. Here's the link to unsubscribe from RetailMeNot and also Valpak. If you're getting other marketing catalogues, just Google "unsubscribe from (enter catalog name)" and it should be pretty easy to find.
All of the above: opting out of junk mail through DMAchoice may seem redundant, but think of it as helping seal all those cracks! If you're taking the time to stop junk mail, you might as well be redundant! DMAchoice is an online tool to help people manage their mail. Their site divides direct mail into four categories (credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers, and other mail offers), and you can request to start or stop receiving mail from individual companies within each category or from an entire category at once. There is a $2 fee for using DMAchoice, so if you'd rather not pay it then just focus on options 1 and 2.
Every day we're conscious about reducing our waste and being thoughtful about the resources we consume, so we think we have the right to say no to unwanted, junk mail. Do you really want to get stuck in the junk mail rat race that just keeps cutting down trees to make useless paper that ends up in the landfill? Heck no! Hop on the unsubscribe train and put a stop to all the junk mail that's unsolicitedly showing up at your front door.