Junk Mail Reduction

We use about 62 million trees and 25 billion gallons of water to produce 1 year's worth of this country's bulk business mail. Think of the natural resources that are wasted and the frustration and time you spend dealing with your daily dose of unwanted mail.

Why do I get so much unwanted mail?

When you subscribe to a publication, place a credit card order, order items through the mail or the Internet, join an organization, donate to a charity or enter a sweepstakes, chances are your name is added to a mailing list of some kind. There are companies who are in the business of selling these lists to other companies who believe you may be interested in purchasing their products or services. The information they mail to you is called "bulk business mail," commonly referred to as junk mail.

How do I get rid of it?

To reduce junk mail, you need to reduce access to your name and address so that it will not be traded, rented or sold to companies who send you unwanted mail. This kit will show you how to reduce your current flow of unwanted mail, help keep new junk mail from finding its way to your doorstep, and offer recycling options for the occasional piece that sneaks in.

Step 1 - Reduce your current flow of Junk Mail

Remove your name from the mailing list as soon as you receive an unwanted piece of direct mail. Most catalogs include a toll-free number. You can call this number to request that your name be removed from the mailing list. If you receive unsolicited flyers, newspapers or advertising circulars, call the paper's subscription department or the company's general information number and ask them to remove your name from their list.

Many credit card companies give your name to other companies. To reduce your junk mail call your credit card companies and request that your name not be traded or sold. Send out this pre-made letter (PDF) to the addresses listed in the table. This will remove your name from many of the mailing lists of companies that send you unwanted catalogs, sweepstakes entries, coupons, etc
Company Address
Haines and Company, Criss Cross Directory
Attn: Director od Data Processing
8050 Freedom Avenue, NW
North Canton, Ohio 44720
ADVO Inc. Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 249
Windsor, CT 06095
Database America Attn: Opt-Outs
470 Chestnut Rindge Road
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677-7604
Mail Preference Service Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
Harte Hanks Direct Marketing List Maintenance
6701 Bay Meadow Drive, Suite D
Glen Burnie, MD 21060
American Business Information, Inc. ATTN: Product Quality
P.O. Box 27347
Omaha, NE 68127
National Demographics & Lifestyle List Order Services
1621 18th St, Suite 300
Denver, CO 80202-1294
You will prevent many credit card offers by calling 1-888-50PT-OUT 888-567-8688). The National Opt-Out Center will remove your name from major credit bureaus including Equifax, Experian, Trans Union and Novus. Contact the center every 2 years to keep your name from being sold for credit and insurance offers.

You can also call the Polk Company at 800-464-7655 and request the opt out line for removal from catalog and service coupon mailings. Publisher's clearinghouse can be reached at 800-645-9242 for removal from sweepstakes mailings. Please note that it will take a few months for your name to be deleted from these companies' mailing systems.

Step 2 - Prevent Junk Mail Before it Starts

When making a donation, ordering items through the mail or the Internet, or subscribing to a publication, include a note that instructs the organization or company not to lend, sell or trade your name to other mailing lists. Write in large letters: "Please do not rent, sell or trade my name or address." Tell sales representatives this every time you order something by telephone.

Avoid filling out contest entries. Contests are often used to develop mailing lists. Avoid mailing in unnecessary product warranty cards. These cards are often used to collect information on your habits and income for the sole purpose of targeting direct mail. Returning these cards is not required in most situations in order for a warranty to be active. The only reason to return a warranty card is to find out about product recalls. If you want to return the card to learn about product recalls, provide only your name, address and product serial number.

Step 3 - Recycle the Junk Mail You Receive

Some unwanted mail might still get through, so please recycle it. Be sure to remove all plastic wrap, stickers, product samples and plastic membership cards from junk mail before recycling it. You do not have to remove plastic window envelopes. If your community provides curbside or drop-off recycling of "mixed paper," you can include junk mail with other paper items.

If you are not sure if your community offers "mixed paper" recycling call city hall or 800-253-2687. If you do not have access to "mixed paper" recycling, focus on steps 1 and 2 to reduce your junk mail - this makes a big difference! In addition, some post offices have recycling bins in their lobbies where you can recycle unwanted mail.