Earth Day Plus Two: Fighting Back

I know. Earth Day was last Friday but this is as close as I’m gonna get unless I wait until next year. That being said, I hate junk mail. I hate mail of any kind unless it has a real purpose, like personal mail. A couple of years ago, I started fighting back with the specific purpose of having an empty box when I got home in the afternoon. Now, most days, I do.

This can include bills. Actually, I have opted out of getting many of my paper bills in the mail. Also, I have my payments for utilities and Internet set up as bank drafts so I don’t have to use envelopes and stamps for them. My house payment is set up with my bank’s online service so it’s paid every month without fail. The only credit card I use gets paid with a bank draft, too. Most of my tithe and offerings are set up to be sent automatically. I have to make sure the money is there but my wages from work are a direct deposit. That’s required, not an option. Checks are written for any additional tithe/offerings and that’s the way I pay to top off my car’s tank.

With junk mail, the first thing I started doing was writing “Refused/Return to sender” on the envelopes and sticking them back in the box. It didn’t work. My sister told me metered mail won’t be returned so that could have been part of it. I found out later that metered mail WILL be returned if it has full postage but bulk mail isn’t.

My second attempt was to open the mail. If there was a postage paid envelope in the mailing, I would write in big letters on the application/whatever, “Please remove my name from your list” and put it in the envelope. That works like a charm. All of a sudden, a lot of the offers I used to get quit showing up.

In my opening mail adventure, I found that there are phone numbers to call if you don’t want credit card offers. I called the number and opted out. No more credit card offers.

Catalogs! What a pain they can be! If I sit down with a catalog, I can see all sorts of things I want and can get into real trouble financially but if I really need something, I can go to the World Wide Web and find that specific thing and at the best price. Now to get rid of the catalogs! At first, I called the companies and asked to be taken off their mailing list. That took a lot of time. Only one asked why and I explained I wanted to save trees and, if I needed anything, I would order it online.

Time is of the essence so I wanted a central place where I could opt out of whatever catalogs I didn’t want any more. There is a site that is set up to do that very thing. It’s Catalog Choice. Joining is free. Donations are appreciated but not required. Once you join, you can list the catalogs you don’t want any more and voilà! they’re gone! My mother would have been horrified. Catalogs were her friends. Google is mine.

If you ever order anything from Bed Bath and Beyond, you will get, without fail, coupons in the mail for redemption at the store. Not online. You have to show up in person to get the discount. Since two of my co-workers shop there religiously, I pass them along. Otherwise, I would attempt to stop them.

Once a week, I get box holders. One is The Shopper. It’s good for soaking in water and making a weed barrier.

Soaking the Paper

Laying It Out

Up Close and Snug

Free Weed Barrier

The far box in this photo is the one that got the treatment. There were tiny weeds sprouting so I took a page–literally–from Costa to solve the problem.

Ready to Plant

The inserts are pretty much garbage since a lot of them are printed on glossy paper and with colored ink. One I recycle by taking it to work and giving it to one of the girls who shops that store. There’s no way I know of to stop them unless I took my mailbox down and I can’t do that. I get a few other things but nothing like the avalanche of trash that I used to pull out every afternoon.

If you have any other suggestions for eliminating/using junk mail or bills, leave me a comment. I’m always on the lookout for other ideas.

2 Responses to Earth Day Plus Two: Fighting Back

  1. Cassandra April 27, 2011 at 1:14 am #

    This is what I did last week:

    I opted out for life. I don’t use credit cards, shop for my own insurance, and hate all of the unwanted mail. It’s too early to notice any difference, but now the credit bureaus can no longer sell my information.

    Good luck getting rid of your junk mail!

    • Tommie April 27, 2011 at 6:06 am #

      That is great, Cass! Thanks for the link. I think my phone call did it, too, but I just might add this as an extra layer of protection.

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