A Lesson in Adulting – Break up with Junk Mail. Save the Planet

Whether you’re new to adulting or have been in charge of your own bedtime for many years, you can make the world a better place by ending your long-term relationship with junk mail.

Come on, “Or Current Resident” isn’t even a cute nickname!

According to Harvard University, each year Americans receive more than 100 million trees worth of junk mail. Creating and inevitably tossing out that mail consumes more energy than 3 million cars.

The same amount of energy could be used to power to nearly 1.5 million homes for an entire year!

Similarly, it’s been reported that 44% of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half that much junk mail (22%) is recycled. Womp. Womp.

The good news is that you can be a hero and end the cycle of mailbox abuse. Follow these simple tips to break up with credit card offers, catalogues, and other postal pests.

Sashay Away, Consumer Reporting Companies

Tell those prescreened credit card offers that you never want to see them again (or for at least 5 years). Call the toll-free number 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.

If you’re not into the internet (how are you reading this??), you can send some snail mail to the major consumer reporting agencies and tell them to back off. However, you may need to provide personal information including your mailing address, phone address, name, social security number*, and date of birth.

TransUnion Experian Equifax
TransUnion Opt Out Request
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
Experian Marketing Services
Attn: Opt-out Services
PO Box 80128
Lincoln, NE 68521
Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

 

*Don’t worry, Facebook probably already shared this information for you.

Guhbye, Overflowing Catalogs

Avoid the embarrassment of trying to explain why you’re subscribed to Toilet Paper USA’s quarterly catalog. Let Catalog Choice take care of the Dear John’s.

You can enter the unwanted sender’s information through their website and opt-out all for the low low cost of $Free.99.

I’m sorry but the person you called has a voicemail box that is fed up with your bull$#!*

While you’re at it, might as well make a clean split with telemarketers. Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry.


As with any breakup, you may continue to see reminders of our previous relationship. It can take several weeks before you notice a decrease in junk mail. Don’t be discouraged! You will get through this trying time!

While it is cathartic to toss old paper mementos from a broken relationship into a literal fire, it’s definitely not the most earth-friendly move. Instead, save yourself the embarrassment of getting the fire department called on you and try recycling.

Most junk mail inserts and envelopes are paper, a super recyclable material accepted by nearly every recycling program. Even the envelopes with tiny plastic windows are typically accepted. However, padded envelopes with bubble wrap or cotton fluff usually are not eligible for recycling.

If you have shredded paper to recycle, do yourself a favor and put it into a bigger paper bag. This will make it easier for the recycling service and keep the wind from trashing your yard with bits of paper. Or, you can compost the shredded paper. It’s a great material for at-home composting. Gotta add those browns to your greens.

Of course, if you’re unsure about accepted recycled materials, holler at your local recycling center. They can give you the ins and outs of what to recycle, trash, or compost.

Use this information to be the responsible, sustainable adult you are and break up with junk mail for good. Onward and upward, my friend!

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