~Submitted by Liz Antanavica, Refuse & Recycling Administrator, DPW
You open your mailbox and it’s full, but almost everything is marketing mail. On your way up the driveway, you slide it all into the recycling cart. Sound familiar?
Junk mail is not only annoying, it’s a drain on resources. The average American household will receive 41 pounds of unwanted junk mail in a single year. According to the Sierra Club, (https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/let-s-ban-junk-mail-already) 100 million trees are cut down annually to provide the paper for all that junk, just so consumers can dump most of it straight into the recycling cart. Junk mail wastes the resources we can see (like trees) but also all the energy and carbon emissions that you don’t see during the manufacturing of the paper, printing and transportation to the recipient and the added transportation and energy costs of recycling the paper you never wanted in the first place. Worse, the EPA estimates that only 40% is recycled properly. The New York Times reported (https://archive.nytimes.com/green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/reducing-the-junk-mail-footprint/ ) that junk mail creates 51.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases per year – enough to heat 13 million homes.
With a little persistence, you can turn off the tap on junk mail. Try these tips:
• Opt out of pre-screened credit card offers by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visiting www.optoutprescreen.com This is a joint-venture of the major credit card bureaus.
• Opt out of marketing mail. Use Catalog Choice http://www.catalogchoice.org/ a free service run by The Story of Stuff project, to request that individual companies that are already marketing to you stop sending junk mail. You can also register with the Direct Marketers Association (for a few of $2 for 10 years) to make sure your address is not sold for marketing purposes in the future. http://www.dmachoice.org/
• Change your preferences to receive email statements and digital marketing only. This also helps keep confidential information secure.
• Call or email companies who consider you a customer (you bought their stuff once or signed up for a catalog) and ask to be removed from their direct Mail marketing lists. The same works for non-profit organizations.
Cancel the mailings you don’t want and be sure to properly recycle the advertising you still receive. Paper junk mail can be recycled in your blue curbside cart. Just be sure to remove any free samples or plastic dummy credit cards first. Advertisements printed on plastic sheets are trash.
Questions can be directed to Liz Antanavica, Refuse & Recycling Administrator at (781)275-7605 x4261.