Daily Choices

Stop the Junk Mail and Use Paperless Billing

Lighten the load in your mailbox and recycling bin.

How much of the mail in your mailbox do you really want to look at, and how much goes straight to the recycling bin? The average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail every year. But you don’t have to take it anymore! See the Resources tab for links that let you stop the junk mail.

The other things likely filling up your mailbox are bills. Most companies you regularly do business with — utilities, credit cards, your bank, phone company, etc. — offer a paperless billing option. Get your bill online and pay it online if you like. You can always print any records you want, including old bills, from the company’s website.


mailbox stuffed with junk mail

Image credit: Flash-ka/Shutterstock


Sign up at Catalog Choice to stop receiving unwanted catalogs, phone books, coupons and credit card solicitations at the source.  (You can choose to keep receiving the ones you want and get notice of sales and specials via email if you like.)

Register on the “Do Not Mail” list with the Direct Marketing Association to stop much of your unwanted junk mail.

Visit 41pounds.org and have them contact junk mailers and catalog companies on your behalf to be removed from their mailing lists.

According to DoNotMail.org, the average American will spend eight months of their life dealing with junk mail. In addition to saving eight months of your life, stopping junk mail can have a huge impact on the environment. According to Harvard Sustainability, more than 100 million trees are destroyed each year for junk mail and the production uses the same amount of energy as at least 3 million cars.

Use electronic billing and save on postage costs!

If I switch catalogs and bills over to email, my email inbox is going to be overwhelming! What if I change my mind and don’t want all that email?

It’s a lot easier and better for the environment to hit “delete” or “unsubscribe” than to go through the printing and recycling process. Contrary to popular belief, it’s usually perfectly safe to click “unsubscribe” in an email from a reputable retailer, especially if it’s a list you signed up for. It’s the scam emails — the Nigerian prince, the returned tax payment, the, ahem, “enhancement” offers — that you don’t want to click “unsubscribe” in.

What if I don’t want to stop everything; what if there’s just one or two things I don’t want to get anymore?

There’s usually a toll-free number on the back of the catalog or on the order form. Just call it and opt-out.

Is it really safe to pay bills online? What if my information gets stolen?

In many ways, online billing is now safer. It is easier for a thief to steal your statements out of your mailbox than it is for them to hack them from online. Banks keep safeguards in place to protect your data such as encryption, separating credit card data from other data, and securing all banking applications. There are also many steps that can be taken personally to ensure security such as creating difficult passwords that are changed frequently, never put your Social Security number online, and never click on unfamiliar hyperlinks.

(3) Comments

  1. Irene Rutter Jan 15, 2012

    Pay bills online! You’ve got to be kidding. Nothing on the internet is safe. My security is far more important than saving paper.

  2. Jeff Jan 22, 2012

    Terrific service and super easy. I didn’t know this existed. Thank you.

  3. granny0ne Apr 24, 2016

    Why do companies, especially banks and insurance, encourage paperless billing yet send out tons of junk mail?

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