The Maddining World of Junk Mail

According to the EPA, over 250M tons of municipal solid waste were produced in the United States in 2007.  That averages out to 4.62 pounds of waste per day for every man, woman and child!

We can do better than that.  Take, for example my mail from yesterday.  Two piles, one item was legitimate mail (and if I take the time to convert it to an e-statement, even it would go away) and the rest…well that’s just crazy.

Too Much Junk Mail!

Too Much Junk Mail!

There are ways to reduce junk mail…but it is not a slam dunk.  I submitted my name on the do not mail list (below) about 5 months ago.  They tell you on the website that it takes about 12 weeks for the change to kick in, but I figured out another part of the problem.  In the pile of junk you see on the right, between my wife and I (and now my oldest son too), there are 5 different versions of our name(s).  So, I have a new plan.  I have posted a notepad on the wall and we are writing down ALL the name versions on the incoming addresses on the junk mail and submitting each of these to stop them.  It is, and will continue to be an ongoing process and it will take time.  But given the ratio of junk vs real mail, it’s worth it!

Here’s a web page from wikihow my oldest son sent to me.  It has instructions and suggestions for getting your name off mailing lists.  You have to jump through several hoops, but be patient and remember it’s for a good cause.

If you have others methods you can recommend, please leave a comment.

Note: Within the above link you will find a website called This one has lots of cool ways to reduce/eliminate mail, catalogs, and other wasteful and annoying solicitations.


5 responses to “The Maddining World of Junk Mail

  1. Looking at your photo, it is easy to see why the tonnage of waste per person can get so high! That’s just sad. (Sort of like how the inserts in our newspaper are thicker than the newspaper itself!)

  2. I will share this info with all the folks I can (through work — we do have a web site and sporadic newsletters)

  3. ecotrashsolutions

    judy: Every day I find more and more items in our own trash can that could have been moved into the recycle bin. Just last night, I flipped over the plastic take out container from my son’s trip to a local sushi restaurant and found the recycle triangle. We just need to pay attention. (I recycled it, and tossed the disposable chopsticks into the green waste bin!)

    Carey: Thanks! Awareness is the first step to change.

  4. EcoTrashGuy:
    I love the idea of this blog. I’ll be back!
    It is maddening to me that where I live, recycling is not encouraged. We have to pay an extra $3/month to the garbage company to recycle at all. Crazy!
    Keep up the great work. Change does start one brave person at a time…

  5. ecotrashsolutions

    I remember when it got started in our area years ago, there was a charge, but that eventually went away (0r was hidden within the rest of the bill).
    I realize recycling has to be profitable to be sustainable. I’m going to do some research on where curbside recycling is and isn’t happening for a future blog.
    Thanks for the vote of confidence on the blog. I’ll try to live up to it!

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