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How To Reduce Unwanted Junk Mail

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Junk MailEach year, the Unites States Postal Service delivers more than 90 billion pieces of "direct mail", most of which is considered "junk mail" by recipients.  Only about 1/3 of this unwanted mail is recycled.  By reducing the amount of unwanted mail you recieve, you will not only conserve natural resources, but you will save yourself time and un-needed hassle.  Here are some tips on how to reduce the amount of junk mail you recieve:

Mail Preference Service
The Direct Marketing Association offers a free Mail Preference Service that reaches some of the largest direct marketing organizations in the country.  This service is good for five years, effects only national mail and is applicable only to residential addresses, not businesses.  Registration can be completed through one of the following methods:

Visit the DMA website and fill out the online form.  There is a $1 charge.

For more information, visit the DMA website or call (212) 768-7277.

National Mailers
Large mailing lists are maintained by national advertisers for mailing coupons and circulars.  It usually takes six to eight weeks for your request to become effective:

  1. ShopWiseTM (ADVO, Inc.) - Visit the ADVO website to print out the form to remove your name from their list.  This is a free service.  For more information, call ADVO at 888-241-6760 or visit their consumer guide.
  2. ValpakR (Cox Target Media) - Visit the Cox Target Media website or call 888-797-1896 to remove your name from their mailing list.  For more information visit their frequently asked questions site.

Contact Individual Mailers
Some companies do not use national systems to develop their mailing lists.  You will need to contact these companies directly and request that your name be removed from the mailing list.  To contact these companies, you will need to look at the piece of mail and find a telephone number, mailing address, e-mail address, or website.

Credit Card Offers
The major consumer credit bureaus have established a toll-free number, 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688), for people to call to have their names removed from lists for pre-approved credit card solicitations.  You will be asked for your social security number, full name, address, and telephone number.  You can also visit their website to have your name removed.

Mail List Brokers
The following firms provide mailing lists for non-financial data.  Call the toll-free numbers to request that your name be removed from their lists:

  • Experian (800) 228-4571, ext. 4633
  • Polk Company (800) 464-7655

Business Junk Mail
Businesses often recieve junk mail in the form of catalogs for products and services and mail for employees who no longer work for the company.  Businesses interested in reducing the amount of unwanted mail they recieve may visit: Business Junk Mail Reduction Project - a project of the National Waste Prevention Coalition.