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Staying Green: Great Ways to Reuse Your Junk Mail

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 28 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Staying Green: Great Ways To Reuse Your Junk Mail

Junk mail is the bane of a lot of people’s lives. An annoyance at best, it means that we have waste pushed through our letterbox that we then have to dispose of. Pizza menus, supermarket leaflets, dodgy job advertisements….it all adds up to a lot of pointless waste. Many see the junk mail barrage as an invasion of privacy as well as an out and out waste of paper and postage.

So, how can we stop receiving so much junk mail in the first place, and is there anything constructive we can do with the junk mail that we do receive? Read on for some ideas.

Help the Environment: Receive Less Junk Mail

Junk mail is a waste of paper and resources and cutting down on it is one way to help the environment. There’s nothing stopping most of us, except not knowing what we can do.

There are several steps you can take to drastically reduce the amount of junk mail that you receive. Try these and see how your doormat is looking after a few weeks.

  • Register with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS): The MPS is free and works to remove people from direct mailing lists who don’t want to be on them.

    The MPS can remove people from 95% of mailing lists but they can’t stop mail that is not addressed to anyone in particular. For example some junk mail is just pushed through all doors on a street by hand.

    By registering with the MPS, you should start to see results within a few weeks but it can take up to four months to get off all mailing lists.

  • Get a sign for your door: Buy or make a No Junk Mail sticker or sign and display it somewhere prominent. Postmen will abide by this and other businesses should too….but don’t always!
  • Tick those boxes: If you have correspondence with or register with a company, their forms will often have a section where you can tick (or not tick) to signify whether you want to receive special offers or other correspondence. Make sure you tick the right one.
  • Return to sender: If the junk mail you receive has an address on, send it back marked ‘unsolicited mail’. Don’t open it and you won’t need to add a stamp - the sending company will have to pay the postage and therefore are less likely to send you any more unwanted mail. If an organisation repeatedly sends you junk mail, phone and write to them requesting that they stop. They are legally obliged to respect such a request.

Use it up: What Can You Do With Junk Mail?

It’s unlikely that we will stamp out junk mail completely just yet. There’s likely to be some lying around most households. We’ve come up with some creative ideas which mean that the junk mail doesn’t have to be completely wasted:

  • Use junk mail to line aminals’ cages and hutches (or ask at a local vets or animal shelter if they need materials for this.)
  • Shredded junk mail makes great animal bedding as well.
  • Use pictures from junk mail for children to make collages.
  • Junk mail envelopes are useful for shopping lists.
  • Children enjoy playing post office or secretary with junk mail.
  • Use shiny junk mail to make paper beads.

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