ABC's of Recycling,

J – How to dump the Junk mail!

Oct 03 2022

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Opening your home’s mailbox can be a treat–or feel like a trick, especially when it’s full of advertisements, solicitations, and coupon flyers for stores you never visit. Not to mention, that junk mail can endanger your identity if credit card or banking offers fall into the wrong hands as well as your privacy when marketing companies trade on your address and shopping habits.

If your snail mail is full of things you neither want, nor need–it’s time to apply the 3 R’s to your junk mail.


photo by unsplash.
  • Switch to electronic for communications with banks, utilities, charities, even news and magazines. This will get you off the paper mail list and make unwanted solicitations as easy as a click of a button. Plus, you’ll save trees!
  • If you’d prefer paper, ask for one renewal notice from your charities of choice.

For additional assistance, these organizations can help:

  • Catalog Choice is a non-profit organization that has been promoted by the New York Times, PBS, CNN and the Wall Street Journal as way to reduce unwanted catalogs and other paper mail.
  • DMAchoice – DMA stands for Direct Mail Association, which which was acquired by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). The ANA now manages the non-profit registry called DMAchoice, where for $4-5 you can register to have your name removed from direct marketing lists. You can also use this service to opt out of online marketing and can manage names of the deceased who are still receiving mail.
  • Paper Karma is phone app with a monthly and yearly membership that handles unwanted junk mail from a variety of sources, even using different versions of your name. It provides an all-in-one service which has won awards and been recommended by many news outlets to reduce junk mail.

It might take a few months for everyone to get the message, but in time you’ll notice a difference

Now that you’ve done all you can to stop the junk-mail before it gets to your mailbox, what should you do with the paper that’s left? Follow the 3 R’s to:


There are lots of crafty things to do with that unwanted mail. Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer that non-profit photo calendar or greeting cards along to a scout troop, school, nursing home, or crafty friend who can use them. Feeling crafty yourself? Just google “what to do with old calendars
  • Greeting cards can also be sent to the St. Jude Recycled Card program. Read more about the program and rules here.
  • Need some fun things to do with envelopes? (Yep, they are great for re-use options as well.) Here’s a blog post with ideas to get you started.

Last but not least, paper is a recyclable. But there are a few caveats!


  • Always open the mail. Make sure there’s no plastic, metal or other non-paper things hiding inside, like CDs, dream catchers, stickers, or coins. These go in the garbage.
  • Remove paper with foil, foam, or plastic attached and toss this too.
  • Recycle the remaining paper. Envelopes with the plastic window for addresses are OK for recycling bins.

So, lighten your load. Managing junk mail is a good way to save energy, trees, and your time!

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