It happens every weekday, the religious routine of going to the mailbox and sorting out what's important and what is not. Recently I lost an invoice, did not pay on time and was charged a late fee. No matter what I said they told me they had sent the bill on time. I guess I lost it in the pile of junk mail I put in the recycling bin. I use several credit cards, purchase products on line and I am a registered voter and a typical taxpayer. All those entities regularly collect information about me and my family and very happily sell that information to marketing companies who in turn sell those lists to other companies so they advertise they products or services to me on a regular basis.
No matter what I tried I used to receive approximately 650 pounds of paper per year which is what the average person receives. I am only counting MY share, my wife receives catalogs from almost every store in the USA! Can you imagine how many trees will fall because someone thinks I need this stuff? Each year 19 BILLION catalogs are mailed to USA consumers. The environmental impact to our planet is enormous.
I now receive only about 20% of the junk I used to receive. I went to http://www.catalogchoice.org/ this service allows you to opt out of receiving paper catalogs. It works like magic, you write the customer number, your name and zip code and that is it. I also decided to start sending back the mail I did not request.
As I open my mail I look for a very special piece of mail that comes inside, I look for the envelopes that read: FIRST CLASS MAIL -"POSTAGE WILL BE PAID BY ADDRESSEE" without taking my name out, I simply stuff every piece of paper that come in that envelope into the "POSTAGE PAID' envelope, tongue it out and put it by my desk and when the pile is big enough, I take them to the post office and mail them back.
I learned that the company that send that mailing will pay by weight the return of the envelope, that is why I even send back the envelope in which it come. The result: after a few weeks of doing that for all the mail in our house, we were taken off their list and we do not get any more solicitations by mail. By using less paper, increasing recycled content, and making other improvements, we can save wood, water and energy, and cut pollution and solid waste.
By the way, the companies that send these unsolicited offers have to dispose of personal information in a proper manner, so don't be afraid of leaving your name and address in there, they need to know who you are, you are costing them money by returning their mail, that is why they will take you off their lists. If there is one catalog you miss, they will gladly start sending it again if you request it. I had to do that for my wife.