Junk mail is a huge problem. It wastes mountains of paper, causes excess rubbish, clutters up your home, and wastes your time.

However, with a small amount of planning and thought, it is possible to drastically reduce the amount of mail that piles up on the kitchen table.

mailboxAddressed Junk Mail

Start your mail purge by tackling mail that’s addressed to you.

Begin by signing up to the Mailing Preference Service. You can register for the service online, and the system allows you to register a previous occupant’s name as well. It’s similar to the telephone preference service, and while not fully effective – only members of the Direct Marketing Association have to check the register – it’s still worthwhile.

Next, opt out of the edited electoral register. Your local council sells your personal details for a small fee, and companies who purchase that data are free to use it however they want. You can opt out on your annual electoral registration form, or by contacting your local elections office.

Prevention is the best cure, so be cautious with your data when purchasing any products or services. Whenever you give your name and address to an organisation, look at the small print concerning marketing. And watch for the trick boxes – many companies intentionally set out to confuse people by asking them to tick the box not to opt in.

You can also contact the sender and ask them not to send you any more mail. You can do this informally via telephone or email, or send them a ‘data protection notice’ which is a legally binding demand. This is an effective way of stopping mail from organisations that ignore informal requests.

Unaddressed Junk Mail

This section covers anything that’s addressed ‘To The Occupier’.

Royal Mail is responsible for delivering up to 50 percent of all unaddressed junk mail. Fortunately opting out is easy, and can be set up by writing to them or emailing them using the details on their website. Once you’ve completed and signed a form, it takes approximately six weeks for the mail to stop, and the service lasts for two years, after which you have to re-register.

There is a second opt-out service called Your Choice, which stops mail sent by the Direct Marketing Association. While it will only prevent a handful of leaflets each year, it’s free to join. Again, you need to fill in a form, which can be obtained from the people who run the telephone preference service.

Other Types of Junk Mail

The services above will greatly reduce the amount the mail you receive, but there are a few more steps you can take to mop up the remains.

Firstly, buy a NO JUNK MAIL sticker from your local hardware store and stick it in a prominent position next to your letterbox.

Free local newspapers are often consigned to the junk pile, unread. If you have no use for them, you can find the publisher’s details in the front and ask them to stop delivering, or catch the person making deliveries and ask to opt out.

Finally, if you’ve taken all reasonable steps and are still receiving mail, you can return to sender. Pop it in an unstamped envelope, with a note, and drop it into a post box.

Junk mail is a nuisance for many households, but by taking a few simple measures, you can greatly reduce the clutter in your mailbox.

Image courtesy of Digital Art / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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