Take Back Your Mailbox

Unwanted “junk” mail can be a huge waste - not only of natural resources, but of our money and our time.  The Center for a New American Dream estimates that 100 million trees and hundreds of millions of local and state dollars are put into the production and disposal of junk mail each year. One study by the Consumer Research Institute showed that we throw away 44% of bulk mail unopened in the U.S, yet we each still spend 8 months of our lifetime opening it!  Unbelievable!  Luckily, there are many ways to help you take back your mailbox and your time:


  •  To get off of national postal service mailing lists, register on the Direct Marketing Association’s website: http://www.dmachoice.org. You can do this online for free or mail in the form with a $1 payment.

  • If you’re tired of checks being sent by your credit card company, give them a call directly.  If you’re tired of endless credit card offers, you can stop most of these by calling one simple number:  1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) You will be asked for your Social Security number, however it is not mandatory that you provide it.To keep your Social Security number private, you will have to fill out a simple form available on the Federal Trade Commission website. Go to www.ftc.gov and click on Consumer Protection. There is a sample form available for download.

  • If you have catalogs coming to you that you no longer want, consider making a quick call to the 800 number on the catalog.  You can also control your mail preferences for many catalogs for free by registering at http://www.catalogchoice.org  

  • To maintain your new junk mail-free lifestyle, get in the habit of writing “Do not rent or sell my name” or “Do not add me to mailing lists” by your name any time you are ordering, subscribing, or entering anything via mail.  

  • Finally, the national “Do Not Call” registry to reduce telemarketing calls has been very popular, and there is a movement now to enact similar “Do Not Mail” legislation.  To find out more about junk mail and to show your support, visit: http://www.donotmail.org/index.php   

Subscribe to a Service

There are some fee-for-service companies out there who advertise that they will do much of this for you for a free, such as: http://www.41pounds.org and http://www.stopthejunkmail.com.

You can always review and evaluate these services on your own.  RIRRC does not recommend any one of these companies over another, or over any other company not listed here.