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Natural Awakenings

Stop Global Warming: Stop Junk Mail—Save Time, Trees & Energy

Junk mail is not as inevitable as death and taxes. But it does have an inescapably bad effect on the environment. A quick rundown at details how we can clean out our snail mailbox and help save the planet in about 20 minutes.

Tactics start by emblazoning “do not rent or sell my name and address to anyone” on every warranty card, donation form and contest entry we fill out. The same request goes for telephone-originated transactions.

With first class mail, crossing out the address and bar code, circling postage and marking it “Refused: Return to Sender” will prompt solicitations to cease. This works with some bulk mail too, but only if the label says “address correction requested.” Calling the toll-free number on any catalog label with a request to cease and desist will stop the flood of wasted paper, as does faxing the catalog label marked with instructions “Attn: Customer Service.”

Sending a postcard or letter with $1 to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, NY 15012 directing them to “activate the preference service” can stop tons of unwanted mail for five years. They have an online option as well. In each case, clearly state complete name, address and zip code. A call to 1-888-567-8688 directs credit agencies to opt us out of routine sharing of personal information with insurance and credit card direct mail companies.

More easy ideas for canceling AOL disk promotions, sweepstakes offers and local business mailings as well as putting a halt to mail addressed to a former resident or spouse all spell relief.

For more ideas visit and

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