We have a little neighborhood bank of post office box-style boxes in our cul-de-sac. They’re pretty small. The floods of junk mail absolutely drown out the real mail, to the point that postal service mail actually has little value for us anymore. Important items, like bills and bank accounts, I handle online. All my personal mail is entirely email anymore.
The picture above is three days worth of mail, and there probably aren’t ten pieces of real mail or subscribed magazines in the stack. The rest are credit card or mortgage offers, catalogs, neighborhood news flyers and Christmas ads. On occasion, the thoughtful neighborhood postal person shoves a phone book, a large catalog or a small parcel into our little mailbox.
I have spam filtering for my email, and it works pretty well, with about 98% success. I have my phone numbers listed at donotcall.gov and it has cut down on phone soliciting.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were something like that for paper mail? Not only is it tremendously annoying but it’s a huge environmental problem – if millions of families throughout America are getting stacks of unwanted junk mail just like mine, it’s killing an awful lot of trees and clogging landfills. And marketing statistics show that direct mail marketing is one of the least effective forms of marketing – so WHY DO IT to people and the planet?
So I googled “fighting junk mail”. I found lots of interesting information on how to combat the problem.
The do-it-yourself method seems to be a combination of:
- Credit Card Offers: Official consumer credit reporting industry opt out
- Direct Mail: DMA’s Mail Preference Service
- Catalogs: call or mail the vendor directly and ask to be removed
Then I ran across this service: greendimes. It’s a fairly intriguing startup business. They will:
- Remove me from more junk mail lists than any other service
- Unsubscribe me from the catalogs I tell them to stop
- Plant 12 trees for me every year
- Track the impact that I, and my family, friends and associates have made by stopping our junk mail
The cost? A dime a day. $3 a month, month to month. My time is worth much more than that and the do-it-yourself method is time-consuming! So we’re going to try it and see if it has an impact on our mail volume over the next six months.