reducing junk mail

Junk mail is a part of every homeowner and renter's life. And in my life, it's a part that conflicts with two major areas. I work in advertising, where the term is direct mail. Although we've steered more toward email in the past few years, sometimes we still send out direct mail. When we do send postal direct mail, we make sure it's something useful and it's sent to the right people. As a consumer, I work to reduce the amount of junk mail I get. The main culprits are phone books and the weekly sale papers. But there's also constant marketing from my cell phone company and former cable company.

There are websites that provide easy, free ways to opt out of direct mail lists. The FTC has a list of who to contact to opt out of credit/insurance offers, telemarketers, direct mail and email.

The link they provide for opting out of direct mail lists is to DMAChoice. You sign up for free, then enter your address. Once your account is open, you can manage your mail by category, or opt out of all lists. 

Treehugger lists some other sources for opting out of junk mail as well.

And what about those weekly salepapers, known as RedPlum? Their website allows you to opt-out, which I'm sure works great for actual homes. Apartments...not so much. In my previous apartment, I opted out, and waited the few weeks it said to. I never stopped receiving the salepapers. One day I looked at the address on them, and the apartment number was scratched out. Another day, there was no apartment number printed. I caught the mail man delivering the salepapers one day and told him not to put one in my box. He informed me that he had to put one in every box. In my current apartment, I've noticed that I don't receive one every week, but when I do, the apartment number is never correct. I suppose once a month is better than once a week, but RedPlum should be more receptive to apartment-dwellers who want to reduce the amount of junk mail they receive.

One day, I was perusing the options in my ATT account, and I noticed there was a place where you could choose how you wanted to receive marketing messages - postal mail or email. Unfortunately, not all companies provide this - I'm looking at you, Cox Communications.

The Ecological Mail Coalition focuses on junk mail in the office. I registered with them with my company a few years ago and set out to reduce duplicate catalogs or marketing pieces. It works when you enter names of former employees and the office address - they stop delivery of all mail with the former employee's name listed.

There's also a website that allows you to opt out of automatic phone book delivery. And I can vouch that it works. When it was time for one phone book's delivery, I actually received a small postcard reminding me that I chose to opt out, and if I changed my mind, I could contact the company to receive a copy. I surely didn't change my mind, since I grew up in the Internet generation and I instantly Google anything I need to know. I also keep the phone books that do make their way to my door step, and either use them in crafting projects (phone book pages do well in basket-weave items), or bring them to the recycling dump.


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