Chicago; Berkeley, California; Ithaca, New York; Kansas City and Salem, Oregon, this week introduced a Mail Preference Service that lets residents to put an end to unsolicited junk mail, GreenBiz.com reports. The program — designed by Catalog Choice, which hosts localized websites for each city that allow residents to sign up — could save the cities on collection and disposal costs, which amount to an average of $10 per household.
"We've identified waste reduction as a crucial strategy to meet the goals of our Chicago Climate Action Plan," Suzanne Malec-McKenna, commissioner of Chicago's Department of Environment, said in a statement. "The Mail Preference Service with Catalog Choice will cut paper waste at the source and offers an ease of use that we know Chicago citizens and businesses will appreciate."
More than 100 billion pieces of junk mail—more than 900 pieces per household--flood the nation’s mailboxes annually. This destroys 100 million trees a year and contributes to climate change, according to a ForestEthics report. Junk mail produces more than 51 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year—equal to more than 9 million passenger cars, 11 coal power plants, mowing more than 20 billion lawns, heating nearly 13 million homes and boarding nearly 85,000 international flights. More than 40 percent of junk mail is never opened before it’s discarded.
Since 2007, Catalog Choice has been helping reduce unwanted mail, save natural resources and protect their privacy by allowing them to opt out of junk mail. The nonprofit not only helps people control what arrives in their mailbox, but also helps them protect their privacy and personal information. Participating companies include catalog mailers, nonprofits and phone book publishers. Catalog Choice’s free title-specific service lets users stop receiving mail from companies that are already marketing to them. For a fee, the Unlisting Service will remove users' names from data brokers who sell contact information to marketers.
You also have other options:
1. Remove your name from the Direct Marketing Association list for a $1 fee.
2. Remove your name from credit card and insurance mailings through Opt Out.
3. Contact retailers and mailers directly to strike your name from lists for catalogs or contests. If you purchase again, your name usually gets added back to the list.
4. Whenever purchasing something online or subscribing, check the box that says, “Please do not rent, sell or trade my name or address.” If no such box exists, make the request by phone, e-mail or letter.
5. 41Pounds.org and Stop the Junk Mail will remove your name from lists and plant trees, for a fee.
Artist Sandy Schimmel uses her junk mail to make beautiful mosaic art.