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Junk Mail and Other Unwanted Publications

junk mail


We call it junk mail, the US Postal Service calls it third class bulk mail, and advertisers call it direct mail. Whatever its name, we all get lots of unsolicited materials. These unwanted deliveries include advertisements, credit card applications, donation solicitations, catalogs, phone directories and numerous other pieces of mail that are sent to thousands of potential customers at once. The US Postal Service delivers more than 80 billion pieces of direct mail each year. That’s 4.5 million tons of paper that is ultimately discarded, annually. There are several ways to try to stop or reduce the flow of unwanted mail.



Stop Junk Mail

Unsubscribe from Unwanted Mail, Catalogs, and Phone Books. The City has partnered with Catalog Choice to offer New Yorkers a free, easy way to opt out of unwanted mailings including catalogs, phone books, coupons, and more. This service allows you to search by company to opt out of your unwanted mail. In addition, it helps match you with many other opt out services available. Visit GreeNYC leaving NYCWasteLess or click below to get started!

Click Here To Get Started

Register online or by mail to the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) leaving NYCWasteLess Mail Preference Service. The DMA is the leading trade association for the direct mail industry, representing a large volume of marketing mail in the US. Their opt out service allows you to opt out from all of their members. The service is good for five years. It works only for national mail, not local mail, and only for residential addresses, not businesses.

Remove your name from lists used for credit card offers leaving NYCWasteLess. Together, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Financial Services Modernization Act, also known as Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB), requires financial institutions to provide their customers with the ability to opt-out of data sharing via the internet or phone.

To comply with this law, the nation’s major consumer credit bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion have established a single toll-free number and website that you can access 24 hours a day, to have your name removed from their mailing lists for credit offers. The recording will ask for your full name, address, telephone number, and social security number. Calling the number or following the instructions on their secure website should reduce the number of credit card offers you receive.

Tell banks and credits card companies not to send you credit card checks by mail. If you know you are never going to use or need such checks, then call your bank and credit card companies and ask them to stop sending these to you. These checks can be forged and you could get stuck with the bill so if you don't want them, make sure you don't get them.

Stop delivery of Yellow Pages leaving NYCWasteLess. If you use the internet to find services you need, then you may no longer need to receive your yellow pages. Use the Yellow Pages industry Consumer Choice program to opt out of receiving all, or some of the Yellow Pages products.   

Contact companies directly to ask them to cancel duplicates or remove your name from a mailing list. Simply call or write to customer service and ask to be removed. Remember though, the next time you order something from the company, your name goes right back on the list, so tell companies not to rent or sell your address: write "Please do not share my information with other lists" next to your name. NYC's partnership with Catalog Choice allows you to have them act on your behalf without releasing your private information.

If someone you know has died, remove their name from commercial marketing lists. The Direct Marketing Association created a Deceased Do Not Contact List (DDNC) leaving NYCWasteLess, which friends, relatives, and caregivers can access.

Avoid putting your name on mailing lists. When you enter contests or sweepstakes, subscribe to magazines, fill out online forms, make an online purchase, and submit warranty cards, your name and address often are added to mailing lists that are given or sold to other organizations.

Opt to receive statements and bills via email and avoid paper mail altogether.

Be careful registering for opt-outs using third party organizations. While there are many groups that want to help reduce junk mail, they do not all have the power to act on your behalf to have your name removed from mailing lists because they cannot prove that the request is legitimate. NYC's partner, Catalog Choice, has entered into agreements with a wide range of merchants who will honor their opt out requests.

Stop receiving unwanted advertisements on your doorstep. The Lawn Litter Law, passed by New York State and enforced by New York City, allows property owners to post a sign to let advertisers know not to leave any unsolicited circulars and solicitations. The law and rules also set forth procedures for reducing the amount of unwanted solicitations distributed in multiple dwellings (such as apartment buildings) when some of the tenants still want to receive these advertisements. The law includes sign and lettering size, and placement location requirements. Sample signs and citizen complaint forms alleging non-compliance by advertisers are available from DSNY. leaving NYCWasteLess  

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Share catalogs with a friend or neighbor if you really want to see the latest products that you can order. There’s no need for everyone to get the catalog, especially if you just look and rarely order.

Use junk mail as scrap paper to jot down notes or take message before recycling it.

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All New Yorkers are required to recycle white and mixed paper, including envelopes and catalogs. Don't worry about junk mail with staples or envelopes with plastic windows, it's fine to recycle these.

Sort mail directly into a paper recycling bin. Also place a recycling bin near your desk or wherever you do the most paperwork, to make recycling easy and convenient.

Shredded paper can be recycled. You may prefer to shred (or tear up) personal documents containing data that might be used to gain access to your current accounts or open a false account in your name. Opting out of credit card offers also prevents personal information from landing in your mailbox. Though be aware that the vast majority of identity theft occurs through sophisticated computer hacking, rather than papers stolen from your wastebasket.

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tips to reduce household paper
helpful links about junk mail reduction

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