Stop receiving junk mail

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Billions of wasteful flyers and junk mail are sent yearly. That requires cutting down hundreds of millions of trees each year and generates pollution. Take action to reduce unwanted mail and simplify your life.


Each year, billions of unaddressed flyers and junk mail are sent to homes with one purpose: to get you to buy stuff you do not need or really care about.

Those flyers, catalogs, and letters require cutting down hundreds of millions of trees each year. That is cutting down the combined size of New York, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Paris, and Delhi every year. Some of those trees are harvested sustainably, and some is recycled, but many of those trees come from wild forests.

Plus there is the burning of fossil fuels to make the paper, chemicals as dyes, and more fossil fuels to deliver them. Often plastics are added to part or all of the paper. Then, at best, the flyer or letter ends up in the landfill; at worst they encourage people to buy more stuff that creates the same waste.

Do your part to stop the cycle. Plus it is nice to not need to look through all that junk mail and simplify your life!


• Will you perfectly end receiving wasteful mail? Certainly not. Unnecessary items will still slip through. This is about making meaningful progress.

• Figure out what is most effective to stop unwanted mail in your area. A simple online search about stopping junk mail should turn up good free or low-cost options to try.

• There are generally three different paths to go down: 1) Work with your mail service, 2) sign up for do not mail lists, and 3) get off individual company lists. See below for more detail and options to try.

• Here is a super simple trick that works in some locations — First, find a sticky note. Next, write on it that you no longer wish to receive unaddressed neighborhood mail. Then put that note where you receive your mail.

• In some areas you can contact your post office directly or sign up with your address online to request that these not be delivered.

• A quick search online will likely turn up services and databases that you can use to block junk mail and be taken off of lists. There may be free options, low-cost options, or more pricey approaches. Use your judgment on what works best for you.

• If you open junk mail with a prepaid return envelope included, write a note along with a polite but firm request to remove you from the mailing list, and use the envelope to send it back.

• If there is a toll-free number on the mailer, call the number and ask to be removed from the mailing list. Well-organized companies do not want to waste mailing to people who will never buy something, so they are generally accommodating.

• If you are talking with friends or family, talk about your successes in stopping junk mail and encourage others to do the same. For elderly relatives, consider doing it for them!

• To avoid getting on mailing lists in the first place, be wary of signing up for things and giving your mailing address information in the first place. For example, signing up for rewards cards you will never use, entering sweepstakes you never win or filling out warranty cards that do not require proof of purchase or receipt.

• There is a movement to outlaw these types of deliveries in some areas. Let your local politicians know you support and care about this. People from all sides of the political spectrum agree that we create too much waste.

Additional Resources


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