Friday, March 02, 2007

Reduce Junk Mail

The Bean-Sprouts challenge for March is to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. The average UK household receives around 200 items of junk mail each year. If you find these useful - if you read them and occasionally buy products and services from them - then that's fine. But if you're like me and just dump them straight in the paper recycling container (or heaven forbid the landfill bin!) would you like to know how to stop receiving them altogether? If you're a UK resident, you can do it in the next two minutes. Here's how:

Follow the link to the Mail Preference Service website and fill in the online form. Within 28 days direct marketers must stop sending unsolicited mail addressed to you. Don't forget to include the names of everyone at your address, as this service works by name and address.

To stop unaddressed junk mail (the ones marked "To the occupier") go to the Unaddressed Mail Opt-Out web page and request a form. You have fill in an actual form so you can't do this online, but if you request the form and send it off, you will stop receiving unaddressed junk mail.

While you're at it why not go to the Telephone Preference Service website and in two minutes you can stop those annoying sales calls.

All these are legally binding - if sales people ring you or mail you when you are signed up to the lists, they are breaking the law. I have been signed up for about a year and it really works. Don't forget to vote in the poll (in the right-hand sidebar) when you've done it.


dibnah said...

I 've been signed up for about six months, and there is a reduction but what you have to remember is that all the adults in the house need to fill it in and also it does not stop post addressed to the 'home owner'.

Melanie Rimmer said...

You can stop mail addressed to "the owner" by requesting a form from the Unaddressed Mail Opt-Out Service. The link is in the article.

Lesley said...

We've been signed up for several years now so the only things we get are those dropped through the door by people who are paid privately to deliver them eg the Chinese Take-away in the nearest town. We've also managed eventually to cancel the free weekly local paper which contained only adverts and re-hashed news and was often left dangling halfway out of the door, wicking rain into the house, (it rains a lot in Wales). This was the most difficult to stop of everything and involved sending the wet soggy mess back to the editor on several occasions!
My son and his wife are also all signed up, but they and it appears a lot of other people, have been contacted both by mail and phone in a Satelite TV scam which tells them that their warranty is about to run out so they need to renew it.... despite the fact that they do not have satelite TV ! (that was the clue...). You can read about it at
Maybe some of your audience have also been contacted and would like to join in the forum on his site?

Thanks for the good wishes for St David's Day, by the way. The local kids all looked gorgeous going to school in their Welsh costumes... Even the lollipop man carried an enormous daffodil instead of his lollipop. It created a happy atmosphere (but I'm not sure where he would have stood legally, had there been an accident!)

welsh girls allotment said...

I use my junk mail and that of my mothers to make paper logs for my wood burning stove, same goes for newspapers, however I can see why those without fires would want to stop recieving this rubbish, due to its impact on the environment. I have just telephoned a car dealer this morning to be removed from their mailing list as their blurb is a very thick piece of card which is hard to recycle - they were really good about it when I explained it was for recycling reasons - we shall see if they stop though !

Clare said...

We've been signed up to the mail and telephone preference services for I don;t know how long now and it has made such a difference. Before then we got piles and piles of useless junk and scary amounts of unsolicited sales calls. I didn't know about the opt-out for unaddressed mail though so thanks for that!

Vashti said...

We're signed up with the TPS, MPS and the Royal Mail opt-out. Note that the latter takes a good six weeks to two months to come into effect.

For a while we put a "no unaddressed mail/advertising/free newspapers" sticker on the letterbox. It stopped pretty much all the local newspapers and independent spam, but the postman ignored it! After a couple of weeks we rang the sorting office to complain and were told that us clearly stating that we didn't want to receive it was insufficient; we had to write them a little letter and jump through their little hoops before they'd stop making money off us. I was really disgusted with them, and still am.

I contact people who send us catalogues and the like by mail, and tell them to lay off - except for the heirloom seeds catalogue I get once a year.

We've received a couple of those "warranty expired" postal spams as well! I assumed Sky had sold on our address - it's about a year and a half since we got the box, so the warranty did expire not long ago, and we cancelled our subscription so Sky are looking for blood.

We get about one piece of junk mail a week directly from Sky now trying to persuade us that we really want to give them money we don't have. I think I'll have a Word with them.

Yellow said...

I'm signed up for it already too.
But I'm also signed up for a couple of book clubs. I mean to get round to asking them to take me off their mailing list and stop posting me their plastic-wrapped monthly catalogue. It's now on my March 'to do' list.

Lesley said...

Message for Vashti... Try Rich's website at and you'll probably find that it isn't actually Sky who are contacting you at all!.... He's a tidy guy, by the way.... they put all their organic waste through a wormery!

Stonehead said...

We've stopped the items addressed to use and the items addressed to the home owner, but we still get floods of junk mail that's sent to three previous owners of the croft.

Our postie is very good though - she knocks on the door, waits while I scribble "Not at this Address" on them, and then takes them back with her.

It's still a pain, though.

As for the phone service, it doesn't stop companies operating outside the UK. We get a lot of cold calls from overseas - all for the previous three owners.

And why do they get so much mail and phone calls? Because all three had serious debt habits.

Vashti said...

Lesley - oh no, it definitely is. We've had two pieces of "omg your warranty has run out" scam mail. We've had a couple of dozen cards, letters, pamphlets addressed to us saying "SKY - Come back and see new LOST" and other assorted crap. I'm afraid it definitely is them.

Another Mel said...

Yes, and also don't forget to add the "no Junk Mail" sticker across the letterbox. It does not stop all of it, but has reduced mine massively (I live in the smoke, and we were getting pizza leaflets and such like by the tonne on a daily basis)

Once you have this up, and someone still puts stuff through the door, try asking them why they chose to do so. I had one that muttered "only doing my job" but has since deliberatly not come up my path, and more delightfully had a 10 minute conversation with a lovely older woman that started with "but your note says no *junk* mail, and this is really useful information."

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