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How to Liberate Yourself from Junk Mail in 5 Minutes

CB010918Oh my goodness, it’s 50 cents off of eye lash extensions at Longs this week!  Great deal on our dead sea sodium dense soup at Safeway!  You’ve just been pre-approved for a new tractor!  Rush… offer expiring soon!

Offers like these are haunting our night dreams.  No wonder an ever increasing amount of people find that sifting through countless pages and clipping coupons is not their cup of tea.  If you’re looking for a solution to this one pound of week of useless paper madness in your mailbox then read on.  I have a solution for you.

As you know, one of the chracter traits of a green home is waste reduction and junk mail can be the lowest hanging fruit.  Fortunately, you can liberate yourself from it in 5 minutes by following a few simple steps.  I’ve done it and it works.  And if you are a true grocery queen (or king), I’ll show you how you can simply find the same coupons online.

But first, here are a few junk mail facts to clip out from Do Not Mail Campaign of Forest Ethics:

  • It takes more than 100 million trees to produce the total volume of junk mail that arrives in American mailboxes each year—that’s the equivalent of clearcutting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every 4 months.
  • The manufacture of junk mail releases more greenhouse gas emissions per year than the emissions released by 9,370,000 million average passenger cars.
  • Annually 28 billion gallons of water are used up to process the paper.
  • Scarce landfill space disfigures rural areas and pollutes ground water.
  • Approximately 340,000 garbage trucks, and all of the fossil fuels required to power them, are needed to haul away mailings that don’t quite make it to the recycling bins.
  • 50% of all junk mail is thrown in the trash, unopened and unread.
  • The list goes on and it’s not pretty.  Whether these numbers are very accurate is a question but one thing is certain – junk mail pollutes and unnecessary wastes our resources.

No one is against savings these days but does it have to come at such a high cost to  the environment?  Here is what to do if you are ready to put an end to this needless junk:

1. Our biggest offender in San Jose and entire South Bay Area is the RedPlum Mail Package (or Mercury News Values) administered by Valassis.  Go to their website http://www.valassis.com/1024/Contact/consumersupport.aspx, fill out a simple form to be taken of the list and bam!  You’re 50% done.

If you really miss those coupons you can always visit RedPum website, enter your zip code and print the coupons selectively.  Same applies for Safeway or any other store you shop at.

Cat Pema is auditing my junk mail reduction efforts :-)

Cat Pema is auditing my junk mail reduction efforts 🙂

2. Next step is to visit www.stopjunkmail.org.  This is an waste reduction organization administered by the Alameda County.  When you’re there, download a Junk Mail Kit PDFand follow some simple instructions.  You’ll want to fill out and mail two preprinted postcards included in the Kit requesting your name be taken off the mailing lists.  The Kit also provides other info on how to ensure that your name and address don’t get traded, rented, or sold to companies who send you unwanted mail.

If you simply take these two steps you will eliminate the majority of your junk mail.  If you are willing to spend more than 5 minutes, then take step 3.

3.  Reduce those unwanted catalogs, magazines, and letters.  Every time a piece comes that you don’t really need, just call the number on the back of the magazine and ask to be removed.  This also applies to credit card offers or any promotional mailings you get.

Step 3 required a bit more effort but I made a game out of it.  Every time some new L.L. Bean catalog showed up I would lit up with excitement and run immediately to the phone to place a friendly call to that company.  This was much fun while it lasted.  Keep in mind though; most mailing houses pre-print this stuff months in advance and it can take 4-12 weeks till you reap the fruits of your labor.  It is a good idea to arm yourself with patience.

In the end, I have to admit, there was that funny feeling “Oh my goodness, what if I miss out on something spectacular…” but you know what?  I didn’t.  Stopping all that unwanted mail bombarding my home’s mailbox felt like a soul cleanse.  Less paper, less offers, less things to process and less “stuff” to buy.  The irony of it all is… liberating yourself from junk mail box can be your best savings coupon of them all.

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Update 02/10/2010 – Remember that yellow monster sitting in the corner using up space and collecting dust?  Now you can also stop delivery of the Yellow Pages.  http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org/

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Perig December 21, 2009, 6:22 pm

    Hi Tadas,

    Thanks for the tips. I have been willing to do that for a while but didn’t really pay attention to it. I will follow these steps to get rid of all these junk mail.

    Let’s make this a new year resolution!

    Happy Holidays,
    Perig

  • Tadas December 21, 2009, 6:27 pm

    Hi Perig, yes let’s make this a New Year’s resolution. It’s a great one because it only takes 5 minutes to achieve. How about also helping at least one other friend to do the same? It’s so easy! 🙂

  • Perig January 2, 2010, 8:44 am

    Hey Tadas,

    I said I will as a new year resolution and here is my first step. I live in Mountain View and here I receive a pack of ads, I think once a week with coupons and stuff that I never use or even look at. My first green action of the year will be to unsubscribe from this (I can still find the coupons online if I want to). It is titled “RedPlum Mercury News Values” and is operated by Valassis.

    And here is the link if some other people want to do the same and unsubscribe:

    http://www.valassis.com/1024/Contact/MailingListRemoval.aspx

    Cheers,
    Perig

    • Tadas January 2, 2010, 6:15 pm

      Hi Perig, good work for the first New Year’s day 🙂 It may take a while before you stop receiving the RedPlum package but it will happen. The link to Valassis you provided is same as in the post or different?

      Next step is the StopJunkMail kit! 😉

      • Perig January 4, 2010, 11:47 pm

        You’re right, it’s the same link. I didn’t pay attention 😉 I am now going through all the catalog crap I receive.

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