April 13, 2009–Today’s Way: Monday is recycling day for us, and every week, I am baffled by the amount of paper that goes into our bin.  Most of it is paper that we never wanted or even touched, except to put it directly into the recycle bin.  Flyers, advertisements, newspapers and those ubiquitous credit card offers litter our mailbox every single day.  Despite the fact that most of us regard junk mail as an annoyance and a burden, millions of trees are cut down, tons of energy and water are used in the processing of turning those trees into paper,  just so we can throw it all away without a cursory glance.  So many of us feel helpless to stop or slow the flow, but there are a few organizations working to do that very thing.  Catalog Choice is one website that enables consumers to opt-out of a huge database of mail order catalogs.  DMA Choice is the Direct Marketing Association’s project to help you reduce prospecting junk mail.  Do Not Mail is compiling a petition list of Americans who would like to see a comprehensive Do Not Mail registry.  Tonic Mail Stopper (formerly Green Dimes) takes a different approach to helping you opt-out of most junk mailings; for a $20 membership fee, they work to get you off mailing lists as well as plant 5 trees on your behalf.

While there is still no single cure-all to address the ailments of an obsolete system such as junk mail marketing, these options can certainly help to reduce the amount that finds its way into your mail box every day.  And if enough of us make the effort to support these organizations, eventually the direct marketers will listen.