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Junk Mail

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Unsure what to do with the growing pile of catalogs, credit card offers, and sweepstakes entry forms arriving in your mailbox? Whether you call it junk mail, advertising mail, or even if you use the official term - standard mail - it still comes.

How do I get rid of this stuff? Can I recycle it? Can I avoid getting it in the first place?

According to the Direct Marketing Association, if you have ordered from a catalog, contributed to a charity, used a credit card, or subscribed to a magazine, then your name probably was added to various marketing lists.

First Class Solutions to Reducing Unwanted Mail

Here are some ways to reduce the amount of unsolicited mail that comes to your household:

  • When ordering a product or service, ask the company not to share your name and address with other marketers.
  • If you make a donation to a charity, be sure to ask that it not rent your name and address to other organizations or businesses.
  • Write to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and ask it to remove your name and home mailing address from advertiser's mailing lists. It make take several months before you see a difference in the amount of junk mail you get from national advertisers. For more information, visit the DMA's website or mail your signed request to:
    Mail Preference Service
    Direct Marketing Association
    P.O. Box 9008
    Farmingdale New York, 11735-9008
  • Send a letter to ADVA / Mailbox Values asking it to remove your name from its mailing lists. The company distributes its ShopWise branded mailings to over 60 million households weekly and is the single largest private customer of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Mail your request to:
    List Service Department
    ADVA / Mailbox Values
    239 W Service Road
    Hartford, CT 06120-1205
  • Contact Val-Pak to stop the company's familiar blue envelope from arriving at your home. Ask the company to remove your name from its mailing list by sending an email to Valerie or by mailing the actual addressed piece of mail to:
    Val-Pak Direct Marketing Systems
    8605 Largo Lakes Drive
    Largo, FL 33773
  • If you get duplicates, call the 1-800 number on your catalogs, and ask them to stop mailing the duplicates. If you are not interested in the catalog, ask to be removed from the mailing list.
  • Respond to privacy notices from financial institutions by choosing to "opt out" or say "no" to information sharing with affiliates and unaffiliated third parties.
  • Refuse unwanted mail. According to the U.S. Postal Service, you can control delivery of mail by marking refused on the mail and returning it unopened to the post office.
  • Call the credit bureau's toll-free number for "opting-out" of pre-approved credit offers sent to you. For more information, call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688).

Reusing & Recycling Your Mail

For other mail or the mail you are unable to stop before it reaches your home, try the following:

  • Share your magazines with family, coworkers, and charities. If you never seem to get around to reading some of the magazines you subscribe to, consider canceling the subscription.
  • See if local used book stores will buy your magazines.
  • Take leftover packing peanuts (fill) to a local mailing business for reuse. Call the Peanut Hotline at 800-828-2214 to find the nearest location that accepts loose fill for reuse. You could reuse them when mailing packages. Send the fronts of your old holiday and greeting cards to the St. Jude's Ranch for Children Recycled Card Program. The children reuse the card fronts to make recycled greeting cards.
    St. Jude's Ranch for Children
    100 St. Jude's Street
    Boulder City, NV 89005-1618
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