Consumer

Holidays Are Coming; 5 Tips to Get Rid of Junk Mail

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The holidays are coming, bringing friends, family — and unfortunately, more junk mail than you can probably imagine!

Want to keep the friends and family but get rid of the junk mail? San Diego County’s Department of Public Works has some tips to help you out.

And these tips won’t just slim your mailbox and cut your mail-sorting time. They can also help the environment by saving millions of trees that absorb millions of tons of greenhouse gas a year, and by keeping un-recycled paper from filling up local landfills.

Public Works reports that the average American receives 40 pounds of catalogs and direct (marketing) mail a year, about 848 pieces of junk mail per person. With that in mind, here are five tips to help lose a little junk-mail weight and help the environment:

  1. Remove your name from mailing lists:
    • Direct mailer registries- National Do Not Mail List
    • Weekly grocery mailers- Red Plum/RetailMeNot
    • Weekly coupon mailers- Valpak
    • DMA Choice is an inexpensive paid service from the Direct Mail Association that removes your name from their members’ direct mail lists. Their members include thousands of major brands. Removing your name from all categories takes just a few minutes. A credit card is needed to sign up. DMA Choice costs $2 for 10 years of service.
  2. To permanently opt out from receiving credit and insurance offers, remove your name from the mailing list at  OptOutPreScreen.com, or send a written request to each of the three national credit reporting agencies in the US:  Equifax / TransUnion / Experian
  3. Remove your name from specific catalog lists by visiting  CatalogChoice.org
  4. To reduce junk mail even further, you can contact companies directly. Ask them to remove your name from their mailing lists or tell them not to sell your name or send promotional materials and be sure you’re signed up for paperless billing.
  5. Don’t forget to opt out of receiving a phonebook if you prefer using online search engines to the phone.  Use the free service at Yellow Pages Opt-Out! Just enter your five-digit ZIP code to view which directories are distributed in your area, and use your name and address to opt out of the unwanted selections at  YellowPagesOptOut.com

Follow the easy steps above and you can prevent up to 90% of junk mail from finding its way to your doorstep. Remember, be patient! It may take six to eight weeks to see the results. And always remember, Reduce, Reuse and then Recycle.

For more recycling information and tips for how to cut food waste, about residential recycling, where you can recycle, upcoming recycling events, composting and other recycling-related topics, go to Public Works’ Solid Waste Planning and Recycling webpage, or connect with them on their Facebook page Facebook.com/CountyofSanDiegoRecycling.

Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact