Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The "No Mail" Campaign

About two years ago I was appalled at the amount of mail I was getting. I must have gotten at least three catalogs a day, sometimes as many as ten, and all kinds of credit card offers, junk mail, campaign mail, solicitations, etc. It was just ridiculous! Especially after going to Africa the first time, I wanted to be more committed to saving trees and not wasting paper, so I decided to try and take some small steps to change things in my life for the better, one of which was a "no more mail" campaign.

I wrote to or called every single catalog sender and asked to be removed from their mailing list. I noted my favorite stores and bookmarked their websites or signed up for email notices of their offerings. I also asked everyone to not share my name and address with other companies. For every non-profit I donate to, I made sure they promised not to share my name - as I was getting two to five solicitations for money from various organizations per day, many of which I'd never heard of so I knew they must have bought my name from elsewhere.

I contacted all my financial institutions and credit cards and asked them not to share my info or send unsolicited credit offers. I found out there are some national clearinghouses where you can register not to receive direct mail, for example here, here, here, here, or here. I also started paying attention to all the "Privacy Notices" in the mail and opting out when possible. I asked the magazines I subscribe to not to share my information.

While this was a pain, I did notice a sharp decrease in mail within eight weeks. I kept a list of companies I had notified, and I was annoyed to note that some companies I contacted two or three times were still sending me things - so I called them, sent their labels back, and eventually was able to get rid of most of them. I noticed after a year there was a resurgence and I had to contact a lot of the same companies again. But, overall, it has definitely helped reduce the junk mail.

Now I routinely write to all companies I did not ask to send me mail and try to get removed from their list. The initial step was the hardest and most time consuming and now the maintenance, just contacting a few new companies here and there, is not so bad. If you want to do something for the environment and to reduce your carbon footprint, this is a free and easy step to take...plus your house stays cleaner without so much clutter.

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