By Cindy Martinez and Keysha Burton

In today’s world, it is much more convenient to do things electronically. This includes sending e-cards to relatives for their birthday instead of regular cards, looking at online catalogs, and/or paying bills online. Although these things can be done electronically, it can be difficult to get rid of the junk mail that we might get regularly in our mailboxes. One of the largest things that we consume is paper. It comes in much more forms that you can think of such as office paper, notebook paper, graphing paper, tissue paper, and paper towels. However, just as we are able to consume paper, we are able to recycle it. Junk mail is probably one of the most confusing forms of paper that we have, because we often feel a responsibility to keep it even though it isn’t always useful. If you feel like you don’t know what to do with your junk mail, here are the best ways that you can handle it while being environmentally friendly:

  1. Organize your mail: This is one of the simplest tasks that you can do, and it is a great way to begin being environmentally friendly. When you organize your mile, you are able to see which documents you need to save, which bills you need to pay, and even change your billing information to paperless billing online. It can be a great way to clear up clutter and organize your home as a whole.
  2. Recycle your envelopes: Have you ever needed to send out mail and found that you’re in need of an envelope? Instead of buying more paper envelopes at the local store, save the ones that you get in the mail, which more often than not, are blank ones that you can use.
  3. Know what kind of recyclables are accepted at your local recycling center: We often forget about this when recycling, and therefore neglect the proper way to recycle in our community. For example, your local Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) might take paper if it is bagged up, or it might not take paper at all.
  4. Download apps that offer bill pay: This has been mentioned a couple of times, but when you think about all the kinds of mail that you receive, you definitely receive a lot of bills that have your personal information as well as pages and pages of paper. Bills might not be junk mail, but you can decrease the amount of paper that you use when changing your bills to paperless billing.
  5. Stop Incoming Mailing by removing your name from mailing lists at DMAChoice.  It can take up to 90 day to stop the mailing since most are pre-printed.
  6. No more credit card solicitations – Tired of “pre-approval” letters?  Well, if you’ve ever filled out a warranty card, purchased a new home or vehicle or supplied any credit information, you can be sure that your information has been added to a mailing list.  To stop credit card solicitaitons, call 1-888-567-8688 (888-5Opt-Out) or visit  You can choose to be removed for either 5 years or permanently.  For your personal credit cards, ask the company to place you on their “in house” list that is not sold or traded to other companies.
  7. Stop Unwanted Phone Books and Catalog Deliveries.   With the rise of smart phones, people don’t rely on phone books and catalogs any more.  Opt out from Dex.
  8. Contribute to Charities – Not Mailing Lists.  If you contribute once a year to a charitable organization, ask them to send you only one donation request per year.  Visit the American Institute on Philanthropy for more tips on reducing junk mail and phone solicitations from charities at
  9. Tired of Junk Promo Product Flyers?  If you’ve had enou7gh of companies sending you mailings or promo products you don’t want, there is an option. First, look for any of the following phrases: return service requested, forwarding service requested, address service requested, or change service requested. If you find any of these phrases, write “refused, returned to sender” on the unopened envelope. Mail sent to “Resident,” “Current Resident,” or “Current Occupant” can be refused if it contains one of the above endorsements, or is sent First Class. When you receive unsolicited promo products, you can mark the envelope “Return to Sender” and put it back in the mail.
  10. Get off the List of ALL Direct Marketers.  There are several smaller list brokers and direct marketing firms in the U.S. besides the DMA. You’ll recognize a lot of them on the list below. Just as you did with the DMA in step one, send or phone in all the variations of your name and address to the list brokers and direct marketing firms listed below. Start saving the labels of all the variations of the names and addresses, which come to your mailbox. Every variation, no matter how small (or comical), is another name on a list, which gets sold to literally thousands of businesses, so include all variations! If you prefer to go the snail mail route in removal, cut and paste actual mailing labels onto a sheet, make copies, add your signature beside each name variation on each sheet, and send them off to each of the 5 addresses below. Indicate the following: “Please remove my name and address from your mailing lists and do not rent, sell or trade my name or address.”

1 Valpak Ave. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716

Have the Valpak mailing label handy and fill in your information exactly as it is printed. If you like coupons but don’t want to receive all that mail, go to to choose and print coupons by geographical location.

Valassis Direct Mail, Inc. 
Consumer Assistance
PO Box 249
Windsor , CT 06095
1-800-437-0479, between 8:30 and 5:00 EST
Unsubscribe from their RedPlum publication here:

Epsilon Data Services
Abacus Cooperative Databases

Send an email with “remove” in the subject line and your full name, including middle initial, and address in the message. If you changed your address over the past six months, include your previous address as well.


As you can see, a few minor changes can cause a big impact when deciding what can go into your recycling system.Sorting out junk mail is one of the changes you can make all clearing up clutter in your home and be environmentally friendly.