ZERO WASTE: DITCH THE JUNK MAIL

zero waste ditch the junk mail - urban oreganics - eco friendly

Let's talk junk mail. I used to just toss it in the recycling bin, thinking that was good enough. But then I saw some staggering statistics about junk mail and realized I needed to do more.

Did you know...

  • It is estimated that 100 billion pieces of junk mail are sent each year
  • The average American family gets about 41 pounds of junk mail a year
  • 42% of junk mail ends up in landfills completely unopened - literally a waste

In alignment with our minimalist and eco-friendly habits, I decided to tackle our junk mail this year. Since starting in January, we have drastically reduced our junk mail waste. When we receive unwanted mail, we remove ourselves from the mailing list (more on how to do this below), and then recycle it.

A side note: if you are able to, composting your junk mail is even better than recycling. Just be sure to shred or tear into small pieces first to speed up the process. Check out our zero waste kitchen post for more helpful tips on composting.

ecofriendly waste free lifestyle junk mail urban oreganics

So, how can you reduce the amount of junk mail you receive?

First and foremost, you need to stop the mailings at the (biggest) source. DMA (Direct Mail Association) is run by ANA (Association of National Advertisers) which is the largest U.S. data and marketing association. A large number of businesses, non-profit organizations, and marketing firms use lists compiled by the ANA to send out their mailings. You get on these lists just by living your life. Seriously. Buying a house, buying a car, registering a warranty, opening a credit card, subscribing to magazines, the list goes on! By using the DMA Choice program, you can register your household and have a choice on what you receive in your mailbox. This service only costs $2 every 10 years. And while this will not end all your junk mail woes, it is a great starting point.

Another great service is Catalog ChoiceCatalog Choice is a non-profit organization  that sends merchants catalog opt-out requests on your behalf. Although this is is a free service, they do accept tax-deductible donations to allow them to continue their good fight. 

Want something quick and easy? Paper Karma might be the app for you! For only $2 a month (or $20 a year) you can just snap a photo of each piece of junk mail with your phone, press send, and voila!

How many “pre-approved” promotions do you receive each week? Chances are, if you’re looking to open a new line of credit, you already know exactly how to do it. To put an end to credit card offers, visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com. You can choose either a five-year removal or permanent removal.

These options are a great start, but there will be a little more work involved as this unfortunately won’t remove you from all mailings. While it is time-consuming, your next step is to call or email every company you receive junk mail from.

Also, if you receive any mail with “return service requested,” “forwarding service requested,” “address service requested,” or “change service requested” printed on the front, you can write "refused, returned to sender" on the unopened envelope and pop it back in your mailbox.

One last thing… the coupons! Two major coupon distributors, Valpak and Red Plum, were always showing up at our house. Here’s how to add yourself to their suspension lists. You can ALWAYS go to their website to view and/or download coupons for your region if that's something that interests you.

Valpak: call 1-727-399-3000 or register at https://www.valpak.com/coupons/show/mailinglistsuppression

RedPlum (now Retail Me Not): call 1-800-437-0479 or unsubscribe at https://www.retailmenot.com/everyday/unsubscribe

Other tips:

  • If you’re still receiving phone books from YellowPages, opt-out here.
  • Choose e-bills or e-statements for all banks, credit cards, bills, etc.

opt out catalogs urban oreganics junk mail

Unfortunately, a lot of marketing material is printed 8-12 weeks in advance, so you will not notice a difference right away. It will take a few months to see the fruit of your labor. Keep at it, and just like us, you should go from 6-10 mailings a day to just a couple a week.

How are you reducing your junk mail? We'd love to hear! 


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Urban Oreganics Owners

About Us

Hi! We’re Cory & Emily, husband and wife, parents, and co-owners of Urban Oreganics. Over the years, we’ve developed a passion for creating an eco-friendly, minimalist lifestyle for our family. We’re always discovering new sources of inspiration and are excited to share those with you through our blog.


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5 comments

  • Hello to everyone out here, I am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me … My name is Susan Christian , I live in London, UK. we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do, i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Emu for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he Dr Emu casted on him that make him come back to me today, me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Emu for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact Dr Emu ,if you need his help you can contact him through his private mail: emutemple@gmail.com or you can contact him through his website https://emutemple.wordpress.com/ fb page Https://web.facebook.com/Emu-Temple-104891335203341 and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

    • Susan Christian
  • Thank you for this handy guide! It literally took me less than five minutes to complete all these steps!

    • CARLEY
  • Thank you!! This is just the push I needed to make some big changes.

    • Yana Talent
  • I love this so much! I always throw mine in the recycling bin too. Never occurred to me that I could do more.

    • Robin Retten
  • LOVE these tips! Excited to start implementing them Monday morning when my next round of junk mail shows up.

    • Sandra Q.
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