Every day I get a little bit of junk mail. It's everything from Jehovah's Witness pamphlets to baby magazines (creepy, for someone who only has a dog) to an endless stream of bills for someone who not only doesn't live at Moore Manor, but NEVER lived here, according to the mail lady who has worked my block since the beginning of time.
(I started leaving irritated PostIt notes alongside the "return to sender" letters because I am a raving lunatic, and it offends me that someone is that good at dodging bills when I keep paying mine. She actually rang my doorbell to commiserate about how much our con man's mail annoys her too. We're friends now. Crazy gravitates toward crazy.)
I was tossing junk mail straight from my mailbox into the recycling bin recently, and I couldn't help thinking how much needless waste is generated this way. Recycling is great, but why in 2017 is anyone getting unwanted snail mail? Does anyone actually shop by catalogue anymore? Does anyone USE the pizza coupons?
I decided to collect all my spam mail/catalogues for one calendar month. Here's how much mail that amounted to:
How many trees did that take? How much energy and how many chemicals to produce the end product? And the fossil fuels to get it to me? And then the amount of energy it will take to make this useless promotional product into recycled paper again?
1 Million Plus = trees killed by junk mail each year
1 Billion = pounds of junk mail waste that goes into the landfill each year
70 hours = time you spend each year dealing with junk mail
$320 million = dollars of local taxes used to dispose of junk mail each year
41 = pounds of junk mail the average adult receives per year
Time to do something about it! Here's what I've learned about stopping the endless river of junk mail.
The PaperKarma App is amazing.
Pros: The download is free, and all you have to do is enter your mailing address on your profile. Then you take a quick photo of the junk mail, and click unsubscribe. They will literally take it from there. I think it helps when you double check their automated junk mailer identification from your photo, but it doesn't get easier than this.
Cons: Only the first 4 unsubscribes are free. If that's all you feel like doing, that's still a huge win! But you also can buy a month to month unlimited subscription for only $1.99 per month, which is what I ended up choosing, and you can cancel it at any time. And junk mail is printed up to 3 months in advance, so it may take a while to see results.
Not an app person? Check out Catalog Choice.
Pros: It's free, and a bit more specific than PaperKarma about who the intended receiver is, which may make it more successful? And when I joined they included the statistics below!
Cons: I found the website clumsy, and too often it redirected me to the unsubscribe page on the company's website instead of just handling it. I got tired of the time commitment, and decided to buy a PaperKarma subscription instead.
All in all, it took me about 10 minutes to unsubscribe from all the mailers, catalogues, and promotional materials! How many of those will stick right away, I have no idea. But even if it cuts my junk mail in half, that's still a huge win.