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Reduce or Shred Your Junk Mail and Help the Planet

When we think about recycling, we usually don’t think about our mail. Maybe it’s because receiving mail has become such a mainstay from previous generations. Most of the mail we receive is made of paper, and most of it ends up in the trash. Our lives have become more dependent on the virtual world and less dependent on certain physical items like mail. People hardly write letters anymore and use email and social media to stay in contact with friends and family. Reduce your household’s waste by getting rid of junk mail and let Dakota Data Shred take care of the rest.

First things first, let’s start by getting telling companies to stop sending you junk mail. There are a few ways to go about doing this, and completing the process for all three will ensure that the majority of your junk mail stops coming.

The biggest culprit of your household’s junk mail probably comes from credit card offers. The main credit reporting agencies keep mailing lists that are used by credit card and insurance companies to send out junk mail. One single number will get your name and address of the mailing list:

1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)
The number will connect you to a recorded message 24 hours a day. If you use the website, you’ll have to give your full name, address, telephone number, and social security number. Credit bureaus already have your social security number and they only ask for it to confirm your request.

With credit card and insurance offers gone, what’s left? This is where things can get a little tricky. When you enter a contest, order something by mail, subscribe to a magazine, send in a warranty card, or give your name and address to a company or organization for any other reason, you might be put on a mailing list. Sometimes, the company will then rent, sell, or trade the list with your name on it. Limit your exposure by writing, "Please do not rent or sell my name" or "No mailing lists" next to your name.

Remember that gag gift you purchased for a friend from an obscure website a few years back? You’ve never purchased anything from the website since but, for some reason, you keep getting their catalogues even though they go straight to the trash. These catalogues skip the recycling bin and shredding companies and go straight to the trash. Usually, you can call the (often toll-free) customer service number of the company or organization. Make a request to have your name removed from their mailing list.  If there’s no number, you can also make a request via e-mail from the company's website. Having the mailing label available will help the company identify how you are listed in their files.

As for the rest of your junk mail, there are a few options on how to get out of company’s mailing systems. Catalog Choice is a non-profit organization, and allows you can register your opt-outs. Simply search for the company you no longer wish to receive mail from, and submit the opt-out. Catalog Choice works over 8,000 companies to honor your choices and protect your privacy. According to their website, they have processed over 25 million opt-outs by over 1.7 million account holders.

You can also register online with the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service to remove your name from national mailing lists. The DMA Mail Preference Service stresses mailbox management. While they do take you off of lists that you’re not interested in, they will also give your information to companies that you are interested about, if you choose to tell them.

Once you’ve eliminated the majority of your junk mail, you can move on to your bills. Novak offers electronic billing, which is a great way to reduce the amount of paper you receive in the mail. Signing up for electronic billing will drastically cut down on the amount of waste you’re throwing away. Sometimes, receiving paper statements with sensitive information is unavoidable. Dakota Data Shred will ensure that any documents containing sensitive information are securely shredded.

Reducing the amount of junk mail that needlessly arrives in your mail box is a small but important step. For all your recycling and document shredding needs, contact Novak Sanitation for more information.