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Native Forest Network's Guide to Stopping Junk Mail

The average person gets only 1.5 personal letters each week, compared to 10.8 pieces of junk mail.
Each person will receive almost 560 pieces of junk mail this year.
That's 4.5 million tons of junk mail produced each year!
44 of all junk mail is thrown in the trash, unopened and unread.
Approximately 40 of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is paper and paperboard waste.
By the year 2010, it is predicted to make up about 48.
100 million trees are ground up each year to produce junk mail.
Lists of names and addresses used in bulk mailings are in mass data-collection networks, compiled from phone books, warranty cards, and charity donations (to name a few).
Your name is typically worth 3 to 20 cents each time it is sold.

To help reduce junk mail, cut down waste, and save some trees to boot, follow the 5 easy steps below.

1. Virtually all companies offering pre-approved credit cards and insurance offers use lists from the major credit bureaus. Fortunately, to have your name removed from mailing lists used for unsolicited credit card and insurance offers all you need to do is:

Call 888-567-8688. This single automated phone line takes you off the lists of all major credit bureaus. You can also do this online at:

2. The Direct Marketing Association represents many mail order sales companies, and estimates that listing your name with their mail preference service will stop 75 of all national mailings coming to your home. To do this, send a postcard with your name, address and signature to:

Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512 or download the online form at

3. Companies that do not participate in the D.M.A. program must be contacted directly. In addition, if you only want some of your junk mail stopped, contacting individual companies is the way to go. You can write to firms that send you unsolicited material and tell them firmly to stop. Be sure to use the enclosed Business Reply envelopes when replying through the mail, and address them to Customer Service. You can also call the firms' toll free numbers and ask to speak with customer service.

4. Buyers are covered under a manufacturer's warranty whether a card is returned or not. These cards are primarily used to gather names for mailing lists. Write National Demographics & Lifestyles (a firm that collects this information) to have your name removed:

NDL List Order Services, 1621 18th Street, Suite 300, Denver, CO 80202

5. To remove your name from major nationwide sweepstakes mailers, contact:

Publishers Clearinghouse, 101 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050 Phone: (800) 645-9242
Readers Digest, Readers Digest Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570 Phone: (800) 234-9000
American Family Publishers, PO Box 62000, Tampa, FL 33662 Phone: (800) 237-2400

For more information, check out these web sites:

National Waste Prevention Coalition -
Consumer Research Institute -
Ecofuture -

As you begin to take action to reduce your own personal junk mail, remember to be both persistent and patient. You should notice a decrease in the amount of junk mail you receive within a month, but the removal of your name from these extensive lists takes awhile. In the meantime:

REUSE junk mail for scrap paper.
RECYCLE junk mail at your local recycling center!
CREATE! Make recycled paper at home by cutting junk mail into small shreds, soaking in warm water (one hour, stirring occasionally), and spreading out on a flat, fine-holed, wire-mesh screen. Add flowers, grass, and leaves for fun, color, and texture.

Native Forest Network
P.O. Box 8251
Missoula, MT 59807
Phone: (406) 542-7343
Fax: (406) 542-7347

© 2003 Native Forest Network. All rights reserved.

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