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This Do Not Mail list is most widely used by the direct marketing association.

A non-profit that takes your name off catalog lists. Over a million consumers are using the service.

Takes your name off the credit reporting lists that credit card and insurance companies use.

Think there should be a national Do Not Mail Registry similar to the Do Not Call Registry? Add your name to this petition run by the Forest Ethics Committee.

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LukSandra Tired of getting junk mail? http://t.co/xO6vpn5ivA via @9GAG

1 year ago
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_Kechups Tired of getting junk mail? http://t.co/YkRjzEeEBB via @9GAG

1 year ago
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gjpaterson @richardbranson Do me a favour, get Virgin Media to stop bombarding me with crap junk mail, I don't want your fucking broadband

1 year ago
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xoMyStateOfMind RT @9GAGTweets: Tired of getting junk mail? - http://t.co/CmhNKLlPg8

1 year ago
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r3ggo111 Just got a junk mail letter from the post office. Printed on grease proof paper. Rightooo

1 year ago
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LeeFields51 .haha i have so much junk mail it's crazy,but dont tell the #NSA it's all secret code ** @PRC63

1 year ago
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angelorichiello Three-quarters of all e-mail is junk, and we’re wasting lots of time dealing with less important messages, says @Barry_Gill.

1 year ago
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griffinkate RT @StripeyCaptain: @emilyevelina @griffinkate Otherwise @nextofficial will be forced to send your junk mail to "Theo ccupier", like @virgi…

1 year ago
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_HughBris Mother-in-law gave kids' names/info to National Geographic mag sub & then kids start getting "age appropriate" junk mail. You stink Nat Geo.

1 year ago
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fourfeeteleven_ Hate It when important email went into my junk mail.

1 year ago
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1 minute ago on Twitter
But seriously, folks.

tree

by Will Craven

Can I play devil’s advocate a bit?

Unjunkmail.com has quickly set up shop and established itself as a center for conversation about junk mail’s annoyance and environmental impacts. That’s awesome.

It’s cool to see the national junk mail conversation expanding, and Unjunkmail’s recent blog posts—on junk mail’s impacts on climate, Canada’s Boreal forests, and Southern US forests—all provide firm evidence that junk mail is not only annoying but pretty freakin’ serious.

But is the direct mail industry taking it seriously?

US junk mail requires the logging of 100 million trees each year. Junk mailers endlessly repeat that paper is recyclable, but hardly any of them use any recycled content. Deforestation accounts for 20% of global carbon emissions—more than all the world’s trains, planes, and automobiles combined. If we want to address deforestation, junk mail is an easy place to start.

With these facts in mind, only a few questions need to be answered:

1.    Was the passage of the 2003 Do Not Call Registry, giving Americans the choice to stop getting annoying telemarketing calls, a good thing?
2.    Knowing that junk mail combines nuisance with large and unnecessary environmental impacts, isn’t the argument for Do Not Mail arguably stronger than the argument for Do Not Call?
3.    Would Do Not Call be as effective if the industry had been allowed to run it themselves? Are industry-run opt-out tools an acceptable substitute for consumer choice that’s enforced by law?

I imagine most Americans’ answers to those questions are Yes, Yes, and Probably Not:
Over 180 million phone numbers have been put on the Do Not Call Registry, and according to a 2007 Zogby poll, 89% of Americans support the creation of a Do Not Mail Registry.

The Direct Marketing industry’s answers are almost certainly No, No, and Please God Yes. If accurate, those answers don’t take junk mail’s environmental impacts—or consumer choice—seriously enough.

Unjunkmail endorses some helpful but not necessarily enforceable opt-out tools. They haven’t endorsed a Do Not Mail Registry, even though direct mailers should welcome the opportunity to find out exactly which Americans are willing to receive junk mail, and which aren’t. Americans deserve a Do Not Mail Registry, just as they deserved Do Not Call—something enforceable, something that actually satisfies consumers, and something that meets full scope of the challenge before it.

It could be so easy. It could sharply reduce unnecessary logging at a time when we must sharply reduce unnecessary logging. The world may face some tough decisions in the near future. This isn’t one of them.

William Craven is the media officer for ForestEthics. Their Do Not Mail Campaign has collected the signatures of over 100,000 Americans calling for a national Do Not Mail Registry.

Where to Recycle Your Junk Mail

Ecology concept

We’ve covered several different ways to reuse your junk mail-everything from using it in your garden to making jewelry out of it. But what if you don’t have a garden? What if you aren’t crafty? What if you just have too much of the stuff around to do anything productive with?

The most environmentally-friendly way to deal with junk mail is to recycle it, one way or another.  Fortunately, there are many different places where you can lighten your junk mail load without sending it to the local landfill. According to Earth911.com, 87 percent of Americans currently have access to some type of community recycling program. If you don’t recycle already, here are some options that might be available in your community:

  • Kick it to the curb: Many communities do offer curbside recycling.  In fact, over 50% of the US population can recycle their junk mail without ever leaving home. Almost all  recycling programs now take glossy paper, like direct mail catalogs, in addition to regular paper. To see if curbside recycling is available where you live, contact your municipality. Oh, and don’t forget to shred junk mail like credit card offers, which could be used by identity thieves.
  • Take it to the post office: In October 2008, the US Postal Service began placing secure recycling bins in post office lobbies. The initial program was quite successful, and in March of 2009 they expanded the program to cover a total of 5,900 post office locations. To see if there is a participating post office near you, go to Earth911.com’s search page and search for “mail.”
  • Find a recycling center: Even if you don’t have curbside recycling, there’s probably a recycling center in your area if you know where to look. You can find nearby recycling locations for a variety of different materials, including paper, at Earth911.com.

By recycling your junk mail instead of throwing it away, you can help reduce the amount of trees that need to be cut down to make paper, reduce the amount of energy used in paper production, and reduce the amount of pollution generated by making paper. Plus, you’ll have to take out the trash less often. That’s what I call a win-win situation!

Turning Junk Mail Into Jewelry

Paper_Beads

The holiday season is coming, bringing with it the inevitable deluge of unsolicited catalogs. If you’re feeling crafty, here’s one environmentally-friendly way to use them up: make them into paper beads and string them into jewelry! If you have kids, this is also a great way to keep them occupied when the weather turns sour.

Here’s how to do it, step by step:

Materials:

Junk mail-you can use any type of junk mail, but catalogs are best because they are colorful.

Scissors

White glue or a glue stick

Wax paper

Thread, elastic or cord for a necklace or bracelet

A toothpick

Optional decorations: Mod Podge (for a glossy finish), paint,  glitter and/or UTEE embossing powder (not for kids!)

Instructions:

Step 1: Cover your work surface with wax paper. This will greatly simplify clean up.

Step 2: Cut your junk mail into long, skinny triangles.

Step 3: Roll the wide end of one of the triangles tightly around the toothpick..

Step 4. Continue rolling the paper in a tight coil around the toothpick. When you get to the last half-inch, stop and coat the point of the triangle with the glue.

Step 5: Finish rolling up the paper. Make sure the pointy end of the triangle is securely glued down-add a little bit of extra glue if needed.

Step 6: Slide the bead off of the toothpick.  Repeat these steps with the remaining strips of paper.

Step 7: When the beads are dry, you can string them onto a necklace or a bracelet. If you like, you can also decorate them with Mod Podge, paint, glitter or even use UTEE embossing powders for a pearlescent or metallic finish.

That’s all there is to it! You can wear your creations yourself, or give them away to friends and family. Some people even make  jewelry from paper beads and sell it. These are the basic instructions, but there are a lot of different variations. Don’t be afraid to experiment: cut the catalog pages into different sizes and shapes, try different decorations, etc. After all, it’s only junk mail!

Need some inspiration? Take a look at these websites to see what other people have made from their junk mail:

Junk Mail Gems

Paper Bead Safety Pin Bracelet

BirdsandBeadz’ Etsy Shop

EarthHelpCrafts’ Etsy Shop

Junk Mail’s Carbon Footprint

footprintDo you want to reduce your carbon footprint? Reducing the amount of junk mail in your mailbox can help. The average American household gets about 41 pounds of junk mail each year. All of that junk mail doesn’t appear out of thin air-designing, printing and mailing it uses up natural resources and produces greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

How big is junk mail’s carbon footprint? Understanding that requires a closer look at the life cycle of junk mail. According to this white paper by Pitney Bowes, there are 6 stages in the junk mail life cycle:

  1. Designing the letter and envelope.
  2. Manufacturing the paper.
  3. Printing/producing the letter.
  4. Sending it out in the mail.
  5. The victim, I mean the “consumer,” receives the junk mail.
  6. The junk mail is thrown away or recycled.

Read More.

Junk Mail and Southern Forests – A Recipe for Destruction

Each week, Unjunk Mail invites an expert to help educate us about the junk mail issue.  Guest authors include environmentalists, privacy pros, and direct marketing gurus.  This week, Scot Quaranda from Dogwood Alliance is with us.

dogwoodjpg We often conjure an image in our mind of the iconic forests being the great redwoods of the Pacific Northwest or the lush tropical rainforests of the Amazon, but how often do we take a moment to ponder the forests of the Southern US?

From the cypress swamps, pine bogs and pocosins of the Middle Atlantic and Gulf coasts to the mixed pine-oak and hardwood forests of the Piedmont and Cumberland Plateau to the rich and diverse landscapes of the Appalachians and Ozarks, Southern forests are places of amazing natural beauty. Our forests are home to more plants and wildlife than any other region in North America and in the case of freshwater aquatic diversity, more than anywhere else in the world.

Read More.

How to Stop Junk Mail: The Best and Worst Do Not Mail Lists and Services [Chart]

Unjunk Mail Chart f(Note: click on chart for larger version)

This past summer, Unjunk Mail’s research team did its best to analyze all of the services out there that help consumers stop receiving direct mail.

We signed up for the Do Not Mail lists you can join for free and reviewed the services that charge fees. We found that some of the tools are easy to use while others were more time-consuming: they demanded lots of personal information and had clunky interfaces. However,  the services that ask for more information often provide consumers more control over what flows into their mailboxes. So if you really want to battle the junk in your box, you need to be willing to invest a little time in the fight.

In order to determine effectiveness, we read user comments, researched the services’ sponsors, and compared their approaches. But determining effectiveness is an imperfect science. Right now, there isn’t one perfect solution that will stop all direct mail. And it can take months for your do not mail preferences to start working. If any of you have used these services over a long period of time, please share your experience with us in the comment section.

This chart aims to provide a starting place for consumers to compare the Do Not Mail services out there and to talk about which services have worked for them, and which services have not. This research served as the foundation of our Unjunk Mail filter on the right, which features our three favorite free unjunk services.

And again please let us know if you agree, disagree, or have more to add to our ratings and reviews of these junk mail services. We’re all in this together.

Thanks,

the Unjunk Mail team

Note: This post was revised and updated on 09.11.09. The chart was re-organized to better represent the differences in types of do not mail services and lists and to reflect additional research.

The Boreal Forest: A Beautiful Source of Junk Mail

borealforestGo to your mailbox, and take a look at all of the junk mail you received today. Chances are, at least some of that mail is made from the pulp of trees taken from Canada’s boreal forest. Canada’s boreal forest is part of a larger band of coniferous forest that encircles the globe, extending into Siberia and Scandinavia. It makes up a full 35% of the land area of Canada, according to Natural Resources Canada.

The boreal forest is important for a number of reasons. First, it is a natural carbon sink. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “the thick layers of moss, soil and peat of the boreal are the world’s largest terrestrial storehouse of organic carbon and play an enormous role in regulating the Earth’s climate.” That’s not all-the boreal is forest is one of the few relatively undisturbed forest ecosystems left on the plant, and an amazing variety of plants, animals and First Nations people call it home. Let’s take a look at some of the inhabitants:

Plants

The boreal forest is made up mainly of conifers, including larch, spruce, fir and pine. A few hardwood species such as willow and mountain ash are scattered throughout. Underneath, ferns jostle for space with wild flowers, including the rare lady’s slipper orchid.

Read More.

Let’s Make Mail Personal Again

For a short period of time, Unjunk Mail is giving away free Return to Sender stickers to help you get rid of your junk mail. Go here to find out more about how they work. Sign up for them using the filter on the right. Or just enjoy our designer’s handiwork below.

RTS - Lets Make Mail Personal Again

RTS - Its not me, its you

RTS - junkd final

5 Ways to Reuse Junk Mail

Nobody likes waking up to a mailbox full of trash. But hey, when life gives you limes, make margaritas, right? With that in mind, here are five practical ways to reuse your junk mail:

1. Shred your junk mail and use it as packing material: What could possibly be more evil than junk mail? Styrofoam packing peanuts! They never break down, and even the slightest breeze sends them flying everywhere. Shredded junk mail is a much less messy, more eco-friendly solution.

2. Bedding for small animals: Gerbils, hamsters and other rodents love nothing more than to shred pieces of paper into a nice, cozy bed. Toss them your junk mail, and you’ll make their day. Remember to remove the plastic windows from envelopes before you toss them in the cage. Also, don’t give them junk mail printed on glossy colored paper, as the ink may be toxic.
Read More.

Andy Rooney: The Patron Saint of Unjunk Mail?

Andy Rooney Less than a year ago, I saw a video online where Andy Rooney railed against marketers who send out junk mail. In it, he suggested a way to get even by using their postage paid envelopes against them as well as other things. Both barrels of this segment pointed clearly at marketers and the lame practices that consumers have grown very familiar with and very opposed to.

Then something happened. It disappeared.

While there remains a lot of related content and releases of Andy’s aggression on the topic, there is only trace evidence of his suggestions and the segment itself. A blog post re-circulating his recommendations was posted as well as an apparent transcript of what was said. There is even a post discrediting the advice given. But we have been robbed of the call to arms from as powerful a pulpit as 60 Minutes begging the question, “What happened?”

Read More.