The Low Down On Green Living
October 2nd, 2007
Forty-one pounds…that’s the staggering weight of the 560 or so pieces of junk mail each adult American receives per year. Almost half of it remains completely unopened and unread before heading straight to the landfill. Sadly, recycling junk mail is especially difficult due to the high concentrations of heavy metals used in the inks. Year after year, boreal forests get wantonly turned into garbage as more than 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are wasted in the production of junk mail. This whole frustrating process is perpetuated by everyone, from the USPS to credit reporting companies like Equifax and Experian, selling your name for three to twenty cents a pop to anyone in the market to buy it.
Fortunately for us all, there are ways to triumph over the junk mail debacle. Eco Cycle and StopJunkMail.org have compiled the key steps to ending the junk mail trail yourself. They give you all the details on who to call, what online forms to fill out, and who to give the “Return to Sender” treatment. Or, if you are willing to pay a fee, you can get someone else to do most of the legwork for you. Yay.
Frustrated with their own junk mail woes, three brothers from Michigan figured out how to trump the junk mail system and began to share the service with friends. Only one year later, 41pounds.org is 5,000 members strong and growing rapidly.
- Cost: $41/5 years
- Benefit: 41pounds.org gets your name “off the list” and keeps it off for five years. Anytime you find yourself besieged by a new set of junk mailers, you just email 41pounds.org and they take care of it for you. A third of the fee goes to an environmental or social cause of your choice.
Started by entrepreneur Pankaj Shah, GreenDimes is a for-profit company with a mission to make millions of households in America (as well as Canada and the UK) junk mail free.
- Cost: $15 for 1 year
- Benefit: GreenDimes helps you reduce 70-95% your junk mail for 1 year. For every Junk Mail Reduction Kit purchase, they plant ten trees on your behalf.
Stopthejunkmail.com, based in Boulder, CO, has an extremely easy-to-use online tool which allows both individuals and businesses to get off the list.
Cost: $19.95/individuals & $24.95-84.95/businesses
Benefit: Stopthejunkmail.com promises to do absolutely every step for you, no postcards to send and no forms to sign. This service allows you to choose exactly which catalogs and mailers you’d like to stop receiving. One tree is planted by American Forests with each subscription, and if you move households, Stopthejunkmail.com will give you a discount on your new address.
Luckily there are many options to end the senseless cycle of junk mail. And with incredible organizations like these looking out for you, letting go of forty-one pounds has never been so easy.
And if you love the idea of ending junk mail madness on a larger scale, you can join Forest Ethics and their Catalog Cutdown campaign.
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