When I first started “going green”, I started with the easy stuff that didn’t cost anything and that I would gain some other benefit from. I zeroed in on the amount of junk mail coming into my house. It was crazy. And drove me crazy!
Most of it went straight to the recycle bin. If I could stop this at the source I wouldn’t need to deal with it at all – saving me time and aggravation. My other benefits. Reducing the junk mail coming into my house did not take long, was easy and cost me nothing. And I saved a few trees in the process. Win Win!
1) Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association Program to reduce junk mail
This reduced my junk mail greatly. If you do business with a particular company you will still get their mailings (you won’t miss the new Pottery Barn catalog!) You can choose whether you want to eliminate all junk mail (with one click) or you can customize what you receive. It costs $1 and stays in effect for 3 years. This won’t eliminate everything, only those companies that use the DMA service. But mine went down tremendously!
2) Eliminate pre-approved credit card offers
This one will actually help protect you from identity theft as well as reduce the paper. The online service requires you to give your SS#. If you don’t want to do that, you can call and you won’t have to give it.
3) Stop getting checks from your credit cards
Call your credit card companies and tell them you don’t want to receive these checks. This one also reduces your risk of identity theft.
4) Get bills via email and pay them online
Many household bills can be paid online. This can be automatic or done by you each month. I have all of my household utilities automatically paid (via credit card or checking account debit). I get an e-bill – no paper, no stamp, no forgetting to pay the electric! For each bill you pay online (i.e. no stamp to mail it) you save $5.28per year in stamps – 4 bills saves $21.12. This won’t make you rich, but you are saving some money, time, aggravation and potential late fees.
5) Cancel the Yellow pages
I now get 4 versions of the Yellow Pages here is Westford! I never use a single one of them – I use a search engine. You can opt out of receiving these. Here are the big 3 on our area:
Talking Phone Book
Verizon Yellow pages
Online: I believe SuperMedia is now handling Verizon yellow pages,
Call 888-562-2583, Select Option 3
6) Stop Getting Valpak
If you like some of the coupons but don’t want to receive all that mail, go to www.valpak.com to choose and print coupons by geographical location.
It may take a few months to see a difference, but it helps!
Update 9/29/10: In case you don’t live in the Westford, MA area, click here to find out how to opt out of YOUR yellow pages.