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Stop Junk Mail, Save Time, & Trees!

This post is regularly updated. Updated as of 11/15/2022.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information.

According to EcoCycle we spend at least 8 months of our lives sorting and tossing junk mail.  On average Americans receive 41 pounds of junk mail per year. Junk mail is not only a carbon contributor, but it’s also a time suck. There are several types of junk mail: solicited and unsolicited.

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Solicited junk mail is from a vendor you’ve done business with. You may not have given them permission to send you mail, but it doesn’t matter. If you have a credit card, they will mail you promotional marketing materials (regardless of online billing).

Unsolicited junk mail is EVERYTHING ELSE, like coupon inserts, grocery circulars, catalogs, advertisements, alumni associations, vacation rentals, charity solicitations, cable TV offers, publisher clearinghouse, magazines you’ve stopped paying for, realtors, car insurance, phone books, etc.

Stop Junk Mail, Save Time, and Trees

Here are the steps I took to STOP junk mail from hitting my mailbox:

1. Automatic Billing.

Not technically junk mail, but automatic billing is your first step to getting control over your mailbox. I signed up for online billing (FOR EVERYTHING I COULD). All of my credit cards, utility bills, phone bill, insurance, security, pest control, school, gym membership, taxes, etc. Setting up most of my accounts for online billing cut down on 1/4th of all the mail I receive. Now to deal with the remaining 3/4ths!

2. There’s an App for that!

I signed up for PaperKarma for $19.99/year.  There is a free version (that allows you to unsubscribe from 5 vendors a month), but the paid service is unlimited. From my perspective, PaperKarma has a 25% success rate. Others may have a different experience. There are vendors that PaperKarma cannot correspond with for some reason (which doesn’t help). There are vendors who receive PaperKarma’s request and refuse to honor it. All in all, PaperKarma has not been very helpful. You may be better off following the steps listed below.

3. Credit Card Checks.

There is no magic button for credit card companies. You have to contact them individually–which is irritating! I had to contact them directly to opt-out of their direct marketing program. For most of the credit card companies, I was able to do this through online chat or direct messages. Bank of America is the only one I have had to call. Who has time to call???

4. Phone Books.

Have you ever noticed that the Yellow Pages is sneakily delivered to your mailbox or doorstep? No one wants phone books anymore! I’m sure these poor folks get yelled at often, so I don’t blame them for avoiding residents. Like many things in a virtual world, phone books are products of the 20th century. If you have a smartphone–you do not need a phone book. Admittedly, I do keep a Yellow Pages on hand in case of emergencies. I live in a hurricane-prone area, so if the phone lines and wireless go down, having a phone book could come in handy. However, I only update my phone book once every 5 years. So if you want to opt-out of Yellow Pages delivery here. You can opt back in at any time.

5. Grocery Store Flyers.

I’m not certain about other grocery stores, but I was able to unsubscribe from Trader Joe’s fearless flyer. Click here if you’d like to unsubscribe from the fearless flyer.

6. Catalogs.

Ugh, paper catalogs! Does anyone view paper catalogs anymore? I purchased solar eclipse glasses from B&H in August 2017, after which I was added to their catalog subscription. I could not get off of their mailing list through PaperKarma! Thankfully Catalog Choice helped me unsubscribe from this catalog. They directed me to B&H’s unsubscribe list so I could contact them directly.

7. Credit Card Pre-Screen Offers.

I receive a ton of credit card offers through the mail. Not to be confused with credit card checks (as noted above). The vast majority of these go directly into the recycling bin. I was able to opt-out of credit card pre-screenings permanently at OptOutPrescreen. If you have enough credit cards and don’t need to apply for any new ones consider opting out permanently. You can always go to Bankrate to find the credit card offer you actually want.

8. Coupon Mailers.

There are so many wonderful online coupons and shopping apps. If you have a smartphone you do not need to receive paper coupon inserts or coupons from the newspaper for that matter. Your smartphone is all you need! Here are my favorite coupon/shopping apps (Ibotta, RetailMeNot, Checkout51, Target’s Cartwheel, Shopkick, Receipt Hog, Receipt Pal). If you would like to stop receiving vendor coupon packs see below:

9. Data Brokers. 

  • Data & Marketing Association Choice (DMAC) is my least favorite method. DMAC maintains a marketing list for vendors to send you junk mail. They will only remove you from a list (you didn’t want to be on in the first place) if you pay them $2. This sounds like blackmail to me!
  • Similar to DMAC, vendors share your address with Abacus. If you would like them to remove your address from their mailing lists, email their parent company at optout@epsilon.com. Put “remove” in the subject line and your name and address in the body of the email. Your name should read as it appears in the mail you receive (even if it’s misspelled).
  • Opt-out of offers from Acxiom at isapps.acxiom.com/optout/optout.aspx.
  • Opt-out of offers from InfoUsa. Send an email listing your name and address to contentfeedback@infogroup.com.

10. Contact the company or organization directly!

If you’ve tried everything listed above, your last option is to contact the company directly via mail, email, or phone and request to be removed from their mailing list. You may have to do this for alumni associations and charities…as they will never stop asking you for money!

Here is the process I use when I contact a company.

If I’m sending an email, the subject line I use is “Opt-out of all marketing materials

Sample email: “Hi good afternoon, I am trying to cut down on the physical mail and paper I receive. I would like to opt-out of receiving future communications through the mail from NAME OF COMPANY. Please suppress my address from your mailing list. Thank you. MY NAME, MY ADDRESS.”

11. Scratch your head.

I can’t help but scratch my head as to why some companies make it so difficult to unsubscribe from their direct mailing list. Do they not want “willing” customers? If I toss their mail in my recycling bin before I open my door how does that benefit them? It costs money to print and mail things. I don’t get it.

Junk Mail from Costco, AAA, HomeMag, and more

EDIT 1 – March 6, 2019

I have had to use method #10 for Costco, AAA, HomeMag magazines, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and Discover Student Loan mailers. I unsuccessfully tried to unsubscribe through PaperKarma about a dozen times for each. I am a member of both Costco and AAA. HomeMag and Bed, Bath, & Beyond are sale circulars.

I unsubscribed to Costco Connection by sending an email to subscriptions@costco.com. I provided them with my Costco member number, my name, and address. I saw a recommendation to provide the identification on the Costco Connection magazine itself, but I’ve long since tossed it in the recycling bin.

Unsubscribing from AAA magazine was tricky. I have seen several methods, which did not work, as AAA has since updated its website. I did a search on their website but did not find the opt-out option. The only way I was able to opt-out of AAA magazine was to Googleunsubscribe AAA magazine,” which led me to their opt-out page. Before I was allowed to fill it out I had to enter my zip code, which led me to my regional AAA’s website. As soon as I entered my zip code it forwarded me to the main regional site (without allowing me to opt-out). I had to press the “back” button several times to get to the opt-out page. Once I did I supplied my AAA number, name, and address. There was a button to request an opt-out by mail, phone, or email. I selected mail.

I unsubscribed from HomeMag by contacting them directly at info@thehomemag.com. I included my name and address in the email body.

I finally found a way to unsubscribe from Bed, Bath, & Beyond direct mailers on their privacy page. Email them at privacy.information@bedbath.com, include “NO SNAIL MAIL” in the subject line, include your name and address in the body of the email.

Junk Mail from Discover Card Student Loans

EDIT 2 – March 30, 2019

Discover Card Student Loans continues to send me marketing offers. I just finished my grad degree last December, so yeah I get it lol. I searched online and found a fax number and an address to send the request. Their fax number is 1-224-813-5195. Sometimes you have to go old school, so their address is General Correspondence Customer Service PO Box 30948 Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0948.

“Good afternoon, I am writing to opt-out of all Discover Student Loan marketing materials. Please remove me and my address from all marketing and pre-screen offers. Many thanks.”

I will continue to update this post as my junk mail (hopefully) goes down.

Stop Catalogs with Catalog Choice

Edit 3 – April 26, 2019

I received an unwanted catalog. I used Catalog Choice (also mentioned above) to remove myself from their catalog list. I signed up for Catalog Choice so I can continue to use them. They were able to remove me from the B&H Catalog list, so I’m hopeful this will work. When you remove yourself from a catalog mailing be sure to take a photo of the back of the catalog. The back of the catalog (near the location of your address) should have two boxes (one blue/one yellow). You will need these numbers to unsubscribe. I also plan to donate to Catalog Choice as they are a non-profit and they provided this wonderful service for free.

This will be my 2nd attempt to unsubscribe from HomeMag. They sent me more junk mail last night (4/25/2019). I attempted to unsubscribe from their circular with PaperKarma about 25 times to no avail. I finally sent an email to info@thehomemag.com, which was supposed to work. No joy. I sent a second email today.

Despite my efforts, I’m still receiving mail from both AAA and Costco Connection. I will be sending another request to them soon.

Stop Junk Mail from Costco…again, Subaru, Wells Fargo, and more

Edit 4 – April 29, 2019

I was finally able to stop all mail from Costco by logging into my account, clicking “Account” and “Preferences.” To access the mailing preferences I had to verify my account with my Costco account number. I swear Costco knew more about me than I realized. They knew all my various addresses and the state I lived in as a baby. I didn’t realize Costco had that info, as they have no reason to access my credit report.

I donated to the World Food Program and have been on their mailing list ever since. I emailed them at Giving@wfpusa.org, asking to removed from their mailing list. They responded with a kind email and said I was removed.

Wells Fargo keeps sending mail to my house in my sister’s name. I emailed them at retailonlineservice@financial.wellsfargo.com and asked them to remove my address from their list. I don’t know if it will work, but we shall see. Edit: Did not work. Email bounced back.

Delta Skymiles has been sending mail in my brother’s name to my house. I emailed them at Privacy@delta.com. They emailed me back quickly to tell me that my brother needed to email them and update his mailing preferences.

I contacted Subaru Drive Mag at drivemag@subaru.com and requested they remove me from their mailing list. I haven’t heard back yet.

AAA continues to send me junk mail. I followed the same opt-out instructions above on 4/29/2019. I’m hoping this one sticks.

Stop Junk Mail from Personal Creations

Edit 5 – May 14, 2019

I used Catalog Choice to cancel Personal Creations catalog. I hope this works. I’m still receiving mail from Discover Card Student Loans. I tried to initiate the chat feature with Discover Card, but it wasn’t available. I sent a secure email asking to opt-out of all marketing mail. I hope this works.

Stop Junk Mail from Autoloop

Edit 6 – May 20, 2019

I received mail from Autoloop on behalf of our car company. If you receive marketing materials from the dealership you bought your car from, it’s likely they are using a 3rd party to send you marketing materials. The way I found their contact info was by looking up their address on the envelope: Program Headquarters, 33 N. Garden Avenue, Clearwater, FL 33755. The email address I found is info@AutoLoop.com.

Have you ever received a booklet of postcards from City Publications? I found their information on my website (specific to my locality) and requested that they remove me from their mailing list.

Stop Catalogs from B&H

Edit 7 – May 23, 2019

I’m starting to lose hope that this task is possible. It’s like whack-a-mole. Every time I eliminate one, another one pops up. Today I have had to unsubscribe from B&H catalog…AGAIN. I hope this one sticks. I emailed Cruise Direct at privacy@cruisedirect.com. Miracle-Ear will not stop sending mail to my home, addressed to my deceased father. I emailed their compliance department at compliancedept@amplifon.com. I contacted Opendoor on their website and requested my address be removed from their database. I consider opting out of mail from SiriusXM to be a fool’s errand. It was difficult enough to cancel my subscription with them. Their service reps make it all but impossible to cancel. Nevertheless, I emailed privacy@siriusxm.com in hopes that it works. We shall see.

Stop Junk Mail from State Farm, CPI, and HomeMag

Edit 8 – May 31, 2019

I received a sales letter from State Farm. I contacted them through their Facebook page and sent them a message through their website. For some reason, messages that go through company websites seem to fall into the abyss. I have more hope for the Facebook message. State Farm requests that you mail, call, or email through the website. State Farm Attention: Enterprise Compliance & Ethics – Office of Privacy, C-2 PO Box 2322 Bloomington, IL 61704-2322, calling at 800-865-6035.

CPI Security sent me a flyer. I had some trouble finding an email address for them, so I submitted my information through the online form. If I continue to receive mail from them within 6 weeks, I will contact them through Facebook.

I received several pieces of promotional material from an auction site and a picker estate salesperson. They both provided email addresses so it was easy to contact them and ask to be removed from their list.

I contacted HomeMag’s Facebook page for my locality. They were extremely polite and helpful. They said that they received my email, but their mailing list is updated quarterly. My address had been removed from their list and I should not receive any further mail from them. Score!

Stop Junk Mail from Walmart and SunTrust

Edit 9 – July 17, 2019

I received mail addressed to someone else from Walmart and SunTrust. I contacted Walmart through their website contact form. I’ll let you know if that works. I contacted SunTrust at SunTrust.Privacy@suntrust.com. I also received more mail from Save the Children. I sent them an email to privacy@savechildren.org in June, but I received no response. I will likely reach out to their Facebook page. I received another flyer from CPI, despite back and forth emails. I contacted them again today. I assume the last flyer had been printed before I reached out. Companies typically print their marketing materials months in advance.

Stop Junk Mail from BB&T and SunTrust

Edit 10 – December 16, 2019

Ugh, Suntrust please, please stop sending me mail. I had to email Suntrust, again. This time I emailed both Suntrust and BB&T (who they merged with) CEOLine@bbandt.com and SunTrust.Privacy@suntrust.com. I have been receiving junk mail from Visionworks to buy contacts (which I do not need). I’ve never ordered from them so I don’t know how/why they have my address. I emailed customerservice@visionworks.com to request removal from their mailing list.

The most disappointing discovery was that Ashely Furniture REFUSED to remove me from their mailing list. I emailed their privacy office privacyoffice@ashleyfurniture.com. See their response below.

We do not currently have a process in place for consumers to opt-out of direct marketing by U.S. Mail, although you should feel free to discard any marketing materials you receive by or on behalf of ashleyfurniture.com through the mail. Please let us know if you have other concerns. Sincerely, ashleyfurniture.com privacy office.”

Stop Junk Mail from AAA…again

Edit 11 – January 21, 2020

Happy 2020! I’ve had a few more updates since then. Triple AAA Life Insurance keeps sending us mail. I emailed membersvc@aaalife.com. Visionworks sent me more junk mail in January 2020. It typically takes at 30 days to be removed from any mailing list, so I won’t email them again just yet.

Stop Junk Mail from Uline Catalog

Edit 12 – March 11, 2020

Uline sent me a 400-page catalog, which I immediately threw in the recycling bin. It’s such a waste of paper, ink, shipping, and the energy required for all of the above. You can opt-out of Uline’s catalog here.

stop catalog junk mail

Stop Junk Mail from Sofi and HelloFresh

Edit 13 – November 15, 2022

I contacted Sofi via email and online. I reached out to them in September 2022, but they still send us junk mail. They responded that I had to reply to them with the email address they have on file. I don’t have a Sofi account. Why would I have an email address on file? So I started the process all over again! I tried to respond to the email they sent but it bounced back. So I sent an email to privacy@sofi.com and I hope this one goes through!

Hello Fresh was very easy to deal with. I reached out to their privacy email at privacy@hellofresh.com and politely asked them to stop sending me marketing materials. A Hello Fresh bot responded immediately and said they would remove me from their marketing list.

I will continue to fight junk mail and keep you updated.  

I hope these methods help you reclaim some of your time, mailbox, and recycling bin! You will never stop junk mail, but hopefully you can lower it dramatically! Unsubscribing from mailing lists and cleaning up my mailbox, reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures, which I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

“When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” KJV (John 6:12)

Stop Junk Mail
#zerowaste, Stop Junk Mail, #Minimalism, save trees, save time

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