Stop Recycling Junk Mail.

January 18, 2020 3 min read

Stop Recycling Junk Mail.

A few weeks back, I saw a social media post about junk mail. I tried to go back and find it so I could share it with you. But no luck. I ended up taking my own adventure in and out of the world of unwanted mail and email and phone calls instead.

First some facts:
100 million trees are felled each year for junk mail alone. This according to an article published by Alan Valesco on the Matador network in 2009—10 years ago! While I did find more recent articles, they all quoted the same number. Either they’re using the same data, or more astonishing, the needle hasn’t moved. 

The same prescient article went on to say, “The average person in the US receives nearly 11 pieces of junk mail each week, or 560 pieces a year. This amounts to 4.5 million tons of junk mail yearly, of which 44% goes straight to the landfill unopened and unread.”

Ecocycle.orgquotes a more recent number stating, "More than 109,000,000,000 pieces of junk mail are delivered in the US each year." A figure so mind-boggling that it boggles my mind. 

This says nothing of the energy to produce the paper; the water used; the chlorine and its derivatives that went into bleaching it pearly white; the petroleum inks used to print it; or the resources used to deliver it to your home. Don’t even get me started about the energy needed to dispose of this feckless waste.

So, let’s say you don’t care about all that. Would you believe you spend up to 8 months of your life reading and sorting through junk mail? 

No matter how you come to it, when you decide you’ve had enough of this waste, here are a few ways to take action:

    If we, the collective we, rid ourselves of junk mail, it would be the equivalent of removing 480,000 cars off the road. Drive around with that fact for minute. AND, what a message we send.

    As I like to say, What’s Good isn’t here to ‘should’ you or shame you into being Greener… the goal is for each of us to increase our awareness and either start or continue to make choices that create a healthier living environment and do less harm and more good for the greater good. 

    1. Remove your name from paper mailing lists:
      1. Visit https://dmachoice.thedma.org/register.php
      2. Pay $2 and they’ll remove your address from all but credit offers.

    2. Remove your name from credit offers:
      1. https://www.optoutprescreen.com/selection
      2. You can opt out via online form for 5 years, or print and mail-in form for permanent opt out.

    3. Remove up to 3 email address from United States-based lists:
      1. https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/optoutemps.php
    1. Remove yourself from unsolicited telemarketing
      1. register with the Federal Trade Commission's Do-Not-Call Registry
      2. donotcall.gov or by phone 1-888-382-1222.

    2. Thanks to ecocycle.org, I was reminded you’ll want to remove yourself from Valpak or if you actually like receiving them, you can subscribe digitally by region:
      1. https://www.valpak.com/coupons/show/mailinglistsuppression

    If we, the collective we, rid ourselves of junk mail, it would be the equivalent of removing 480,000 cars off the road. Drive around in your electric car with that for minute.

    As I like to say, What’s Good isn’t here to ‘should’ you or shame you into being Greener. The goal is for each of us to increase our awareness and either start or continue to make choices that create a healthier living environment. Together, we can live healthier and do more good for the greater good. 

    For more in depth info on this topic by folks who really know their stuff, I highly recommend visiting https://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail


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