Dear Recycling Bins: How to Deal with Unnecessary Junk Mail

Dear Recycling Bins: Your Recycling Advice Column

 

Dear recycling bins,

I try so hard to keep on top of my recycling, but one thing that annoys me so much is having to fill my recycling bins full of junk mail. I get tonnes of pizza menus and letters offering me broadband deals that I don’t want, and I think it’s such a waste of precious paper!

I know that because it’s paper I can easily recycle it, but that’s not the point. How can I stop getting junk mail and help save resources?

junk mail

Thank you for your question.

We agree that junk mail is a problem. It’s at best lazy marketing and at worst, completely irrelevant to us so it ends up in the bin.

According to Veolia, the average British household receives 650 pieces of junk mail each year, most of which goes unopened.

It also adds up to a lot of waste, so here’s how you can reduce or stop junk mail and help save paper.

Write to the culprit

Whether it’s an energy provider, broadband provider, or loan company, if you write to them saying that you don’t want to receive any more mail from them, they legally have to stop sending you communications. This applies whether the mail is addressed to ‘The Occupier’ or to you personally.

Register with the Mailing Preference Service

If you haven’t done so already, register with this service and you can drastically reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. It’s a free of charge service and you can use it to stop most junk mail coming to you, someone else you live with, or for someone who used to live at your address.

Registering with the service will not stop you getting mail from abroad or from businesses whose products and services you have used in the past. The point of this service is to stop unsolicited mailings, and it’s estimated that being on the register will reduce your junk mail by about 95%.

Go to www.mpsonline.org.uk to say goodbye to getting tonnes of junk mail!

Use ‘opt-out’ schemes to avoid getting unaddressed mail

This type of mail can include random flyers, supermarket promotion leaflets, and free newspapers. To stop receiving this kind of mail and avoid it cluttering up your letterbox and recycling bin, you can:

  • Register with the ‘Your Choice’ scheme

This is a scheme run by the Direct Marketing Association that allows you to ask that companies who are also members of the association refrain from sending you unaddressed mail.

royal mail

Opt out of Royal Mail’s Door to Door Service

This will stop unaddressed letters being delivered to you by Royal Mail, and it will take effect within 6 weeks.

To opt out of the door to door service, email your name and address to [email protected]

Opt out of having your details appear on the edited Electoral Register

Did you know that there are two versions of the electoral register?

There’s the full register, which is used for elections, checking identity, and credit applications, and there’s the edited register which companies can buy to use your details for marketing.

You can opt out of appearing on the edited register when you complete your voter registration form.

Sign up for online billing and email communications instead

Many companies offer discounts if you pay your bills online, and many banks now ask customers as a rule if they wish to stop receiving paper statements.

When you are signing up for something, tick the boxes to say you wish to receive email or SMS communications rather than direct mail.

Tick the right boxes

Speaking of ticking boxes, whenever you sign up for something, always opt out of being sent mail, and be careful; some clever marketers have switched it up and ask you to tick the box if you DO want to receive communications from them, so be savvy!

Go old school and get a door sticker

What about takeaway menus and the like, we hear you say? Registering for the mailing preference service probably isn’t going to stop you getting leaflets and menus from your local Kebab house. In this case, you can try getting a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker for your door or letterbox.

If you find you are still getting more junk mail than you would like even after taking these steps, you can visit www.stopjunkmail.org.uk for more tips.

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