Take the Junk Out of Your Mail

Erika-teamToday’s blog comes from our Education Coordinator, Erika! We all have become accustom to separating out the junk mail from our mail box, but what if there was a solution to avoid this all together? What if that same solution could save you time, tax payer money AND the environment? Read more below about Erika’s 6 easy solutions to significantly reduce the amount of junk mail in your mailbox and your impact on the environment.

Over the past few months, I have worked to reduce the amount of waste I generate. This began when I learned that on average, each San Diegan will produce 5 lbs of trash per day and 2,000+ lbs of trash per person per year! I started with cutting out Trader Joe’s samples, disposable Starbucks cups, and zip lock bags. I thought I was doing a pretty good job, until I looked in my mailbox. It was full of junk (mail). So I decided to do something about it.

Are you frustrated with junk mail as much as Sheldon?
Are you frustrated with junk mail as much as Sheldon? Follow the steps below!

For starters, it’s interesting to learn how many of us receive junk mail every single day, but most people I know hate it! In addition to it being an inconvenience, a lesser known fact is that it negatively impacts our environment. According to an EPA report, in 2001, more than 4 million tons of junk mail are shipped annually, and it is estimated that 50% of that mail ends up in our landfills.


MSW graph
Currently, paper and paperboard account for 27.4% of waste disposed. While a large percentage of that is recycled, paper is still one of the largest components in our landfills . Talk about a waste!

If the environmental impact doesn’t convince you to unsubscribe, consider your wallet. Reducing junk mail saves you money. The Postal Service offers lower prices for bulk mailings, so in essence, our standard postage subsidizes junk mail. Additionally, taxpayers pay for the cost of disposal, which amounts to $370,000,000 a year.

Last year, I received a catalog out of the blue. I had never shopped at the particular store and actually had never heard of it before, so I was surprised to see my name located in the address field. My curiosity led me to call the company to find out if I had unknowingly signed up for this their catalog. After a pleasant conversation with the woman, I learned that they bought my name from a mailing list. That got me thinking about how many other companies have my name and address.

Here is your go-to guide on how to reduce your impact on the environment and your wallet by refusing junk mail:

Register on the National Do Not Mail List
• To cancel credit and insurance offers click here!
• Cancel unwanted catalogs here
Unsubscribe from ValPack
• Sign up to receive your favorite grocery store’s e-coupons online and cancel your direct mail coupons here
• Call the businesses and organizations that sent you the junk mail and request that take you off their list

These simple steps will significantly reduce the amount of junk mail you receive and thus, the amount of waste you produce. For other excess mail, check out our Junk Mail board on Pinterest and see what you can create!

The ILACSD staff always enjoy a good laugh. Check out this Saturday Night Live spoof about junk mail. Enjoy!

SNL junk mail PSA