Monday, January 3, 2011

December's One Small Change- Stopping Junk Mail

I am bringing One Small Change back into my blog world.  We have taken steps throughout the year to lessen our carbon footprint but I haven't written about it.  Now every month, I will be writing about the changes we will make each month to make a positive green impact for ourselves and this beautiful earth we live on.  Please check out my blog from last Feb about why I am doing One Small Change or the actual One Small Change Challenge Blog

Oh the grand annoyance of junk mail.  How many times do you open your mailbox and it is full of unsolicited junk mail?  Sometimes you get a bill or an actual letter from someone.  I am sure that everyone would agree that receiving this huge amount of junk mail in our mailbox daily is a nuisance.  On average, an American adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year, most of it unwanted.  According to the EPA, over 50% of this unsolicited junk mail ends up in landfill annually.

Here are some pretty shocking statistics:
  • More than 100 million trees are destroyed a year to produce junk mail.
  • The junk mail industry uses 10-24 BILLION gallons of water each year.
  • Creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars.
  • You waste about 7-8 months of your life dealing with junk mail.  What a waste of time!  
So with the New Year approaching, our family took steps to get rid of this nuisance, not only to help in saving our planet but also to save time and to stay organized.  Here are the steps we took in the month of December to get rid of this grand annoyance!  Please use these steps to get rid of your junk mail as well! 

1.  I started with the DMA and this is the first step before anything else! Visiting DMAChoice will help you remove your name to more than 3,600 companies.  They want to help you choose what mailings you receive by customizing your mail preferences.  

2.  Pre-Approved credit card offers by far bombard my mailbox more than any other kind of junk mail.  Yuk!  I went to to remove my name from the 3 major credit report companies.

3.  We don't receive magazines at our house but we do receive lots of catalogs. Everything you see in a catalog, you can see online at the companies website and save tons of paper and trees that way.  I contacted the catalog companies personally to stop from receiving their catalog and also went to Catalog Choice.  (This site is similar to but each cover some different areas.)  Catalog Choice helps you find and choose the catalogs you don't want to receive and a BIG helps you with getting rid of phone books!  Phone books being left on my door steps in big plastic bags is seriously one of my biggest pet peeves!

4.  With any other unwanted mail, I have started personally contacting those companies that send me junk mail.  We get lots of unsolicited mail from local insurance companies and they come for both my husband and I.  It creates a lot of junk!  So I personally have started calling each company and eventually I will get to each company!

Well until all these steps start working for me, what can I do with all this junk mail??  Here are a few things I have done in the past and plan to do until the junk mail all goes away:
  • Recycle it!
  • Compost it!  Most paper you can compost.  Avoid the glossy paper and any paper that has any kind of plastic on it.  Put it in the shredder and it is easier to break down in the compost bin.
  • Package it!  If you mail a package or need to store breakables in a box.  Crumble it or shred it for sustainable package material.
  • Craft it!  My son and I can do lot of crafts with unwanted mail and paper!
I am excited that we have done this as a family and welcome everyone else to try this as well.  It will be such a relief to get rid of a huge annoyance and take a step towards a greener planet.

What is your small change? 

Peace, Love, & Happiness,


"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money." - Cree Indian Proverb


    1. Its a beautiful thing to see people taking action to change the world we live in instead of just bitching about its downfalls.. Attempting to save the world like you are makes you nothing short of a real life hero! Keep that wisdom comin!

    2. this your comment? THANK YOU! Your words are so kind and encouragement for me to keep writing and doing what I am doing. I feel passionate about changing this world in all different aspects. You know this....we have had many talks about it. Thank you for reading!

    3. Thanks for the links! I also hate junk mail and receive sooo much in any given week.

      Over the years we have started implementing many small changes and it really does add up.

      One change we made this year was to stop buying papertowels. I sewed up a simple drawstring bag that I've hung in the kitchen and I put a bunch of rags in it (old holey t-shirts cut up work wonderful) that can be washed and re-used again and again. For napkins I've sewed a bunch of cloth ones that can also be washed and re-used.


    I love to hear your love!