How much of your personal waste is attributed junk mail?

  • The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year and 44% goes to the landfill unopened. (I’m assuming the rest goes to the landfill opened)
  • Actually about half of it is recycled, but still… not a sustainable practice.
  • On average, we receive 16 pieces of junk mail a week, compared to only 1.5 personal letters.

The environmental implications of all of this waste are pretty heavy.

  • The paper used to make junk mail in the US amounts to the equivalent of about 96 million trees.
  • Based on paper usage, it’s estimated that the junk mail industry uses 10-24 billion gallons of water each year.
  • I don’t have a stat for the cost of shipping all that junk mail, but if it costs $550 million every year in currency to move this junk mail, it’s CO2 footprint is gargantuan.

What you can do about it:

There are several resources to help you get your name and address removed from snail mail marketing lists. I’ve listed a few below in the resources section to get you started – most are free.

If you spend a few hours of your time unsubscribing today, you can seriously cut down on the amount of junk mail you receive and have a huge impact on your personal waste.

Stop the waste of paper. Tell direct marketers you don’t want to be solicited. And save yourself time and frustration.

Your Action Item

Unsubscribe from physical junk mail. Now. Feel better and waste less.


This one’s digital…

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Junk Mail Impact

Facts about junk mail and a $35 service that will help you stop the junk mail.


This non-profit managed by The Story of Stuff will send opt out requests to catalogs on your behalf. Just gather the catalogs in your inbox, search the companies on CatalogChoice, and they’ll take of it from there.

4 Steps to Stop Receiving Junk Mail

Sustainable Baby Steps offers some specific tactics to reduce your junk mail, including contact information for specific organizations that are responsible for the vast majority of junk mail.

Other services to help reduce your junk mail:

Opt out of credit card offers

Opt out of credit card offers, catalogs, magazines, bank offers, etc.

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