When Barbara Wall goes to her mailbox in Springfield, she’s much more likely to find trash than treasure.
“They’re ‘beggin’ letters,” she called the pile of letters soliciting her to purchase something or donate to a charity. “Sometimes I would get anywhere from six to eight in a day. And that’s what made me curious enough to start saving them.”
She began collecting the junk mail Jan 1, 2012. It started with a small basket. But by the end of last year, that turned into an 18-gallon rubber tote filled to the brim.
“There are some in there with checks. There are some in there with a nickel, a dime, a penny,” Wall said. “I don’t want it.”
Wall said she makes donations at her local church and occasionally mails a check for $20 or so to a charity of choice. But she fears the amount of letters she receives soliciting more money from charities across the country — and the cost to do so— far outweighs what she can give back. And Wall said she wants off these mailing lists.
“I think something needs to be said about all of this. I know I’m not the only one that gets all this mail asking you for money or wanting you to buy something,” she said.
All junk mail — from calendars to catalogs and letters with plastic screens on the front — can be recycled either at a curbside bin or at one of the dumpsters provided by the Clark County Waste Management District, said Steve Schlather, program director. But just throwing away the mail won’t make it stop coming, he said.
“Probably what’s the most effective is to keep from getting the junk mail in the first place, and you can have yourself removed from the mailing lists,” he said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers several tips to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive — and the amount of paper that ends up in the garbage.
Register with the Mail Preference Service of the Direct Marketing Association to remove your address from their list for commercial advertising. Go online to www.dmachoice.org to register. The offer is valid for five years, according to the EPA.
Consumers can limit the number of credit card offers they receive by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to permanently remove your name and address from credit bureau lists.
Write a letter to banks, schools, cable and phone providers and other businesses you use regularly. Ask them to designate your name and address as private and not to sell the information. Using an unlisted phone number or not publishing your address in phone books can also reduce junk mail, the EPA said.
More tips can be found by visiting www.epa.gov.