Stop Junk Mail

February 21, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Did you know that more than 53-million trees are used each year to produce paper catalogs alone? Factor in junk mail and unsolicited credit-card offers and the waste keeps growing. Every time Rachel Skinner takes a pile of catalogs out to be recycled, she cringes.

"I can get close to 20 catalogs on a day. I get furniture catalogs, lots of children's clothing catalogs. I get bed and bath catalogs. A lot of companies actually send me, I'll get four different catalogs from one company," says Skinner.

What few people realize is that you can opt out and choose not to receive catalogs in the mail. You can even end those seemingly endless credit-card solicitations.

Urvashi Rangan of Consumer Reports greener choices says stopping the mailbox deluge is easier than you might realize.

"The direct marketing association, which includes companies that send you catalogs, must take you off of their mailing list if you sign up for their 'mail preference service.' This includes subscription offers sent by companies like consumer Reports," says Rangan.

All it takes is $1 and a click of a mouse. You can go to dmaconsumer.org. Then click on "remove my name from those lists," there, you'll find the one-page form you need to fill out to cut off the flow.

And if you want to stop those preapproved credit-card offers, one call does it all: 888-567-8688.

Rangan says, "A few years ago, Consumers started realizing they could get telemarketers to stop invading their dinner hour by signing up for 'do not call lists.' Today they're taking it to the next level and saying 'stop invading my mailbox, too.'"

And, until you can get yourself off the mailing lists, you might want to take your cue from Rachel, who found a creative use for her many catalogs. "I use some of the catalogs so the kids can cut out and make collages."

It can often take at least one month for the "opt-out" to take effect, so be patient.


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