Since when did the humble mail box become a trash receptacle? What ever happened to the days not so long ago when a mailbox was a magical place to check with anticipation each day because you never did know what might be in there. An invitation? A love letter? Postcard from a traveling aunt? Sure, there were bills mixed in too, but the odds of finding something great were much higher. These days, the daily contents of my mailbox are about as exciting as watching slugs eat my lettuce. Although the quantity of mail has gone up, and the quality has gone waaaaay down.
I was shocked to learn recently that more than 100 billion pieces of junk mail are delivered to American mailboxes every year...almost 41 pounds per person. Of that, almost half goes into the trash unopened.
Ouch! That junk mail is hurting us in so many ways. If you're ready to tame the junk mail tiger, let's start by purging your inbox. The following organizations can help you get your name off mailing lists to drastically reduce the amount of junk mail you receive.
41pounds.org For $41 this non-profit guarantees to stop 85-90% of your junk mail for five years. The fee covers everyone in your household and covers most common types of junk mail including credit card offers, coupons, sweepstakes, magazine offers and catalogs at your discretion. BONUS: $15 of your fee will go to the environmental organization of your choice.
precycle.tonic.com Precycle offers two levels of service. For $10 they can stop most junk mail for 2 years. Catalogs are not included. For $20 (plus $5 shipping) you will receive the junk mail service plus a reuseable chico bag and 2 CFL lightbulbs. BONUS: Both plans include the planting of 5 trees on your behalf.
CDMAchoice.org If you're willing to do a little homework, this free service allows you to control junk mail, mail to deceased individuals, mail to dependents and commercial e-mail solicitations.
CatalogChoice.org This free service allows you to choose which catalogs you would like to receive, while discontinuing the rest.
OptOutPrescreen.com This website enables you to opt out of credit and insurance solicitations for 5 years or permanently.
In Canada, check out RedDotCampaign.ca.
Last, but not least, DoNotMail.org offers an opt-out tool as well as many ways to take action against the worst junk mailers. Definitely check out this sight if you want to sign some petitions, organize some rallys or generally make more noise against junk mail.
Once you've slowed the amount of mail coming in, you will probably still be left with at least some paper that will need to be recycled. The obvious solution is to simply toss your mail in the recycling bin when you are done with it. The creative solution is to make something with it! Watch for part 2 of this series for some amazing inspiration...here's a sneak peek at my security envelope roses...