Closed September 2017

The Junk Mail Cure!

Letterswithairmail2 A local friend just told me about, a service that claims to eliminate 80-95% of the junk mail you receive.  It is named for the fact that the average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year!

You can pay them–guess how much?–41 dollars to use their service, and half the profits go to non-profit organizations such as environmental groups and schools.  I am going to try it myself.  It seems like a great resource and a very noble cause.

Here are some statistics from their site:

  • Each person will receive almost 560 pieces of junk mail this year.
  • The average person gets only 1.5 personal letters each week, compared to 10.8 pieces of junk mail.
  • More than 4 million tons (62,000,000,000 (billion) pieces) of junk mail are produced yearly.
  • The majority of household waste consists of unsolicited mail.
  • California’s state and local governments spend $500,000 each year collecting and disposing of AOL’s direct mail disks alone.
  • Individually, an average of 41 pounds of junk mail are sent to every adult each year. Approximately 44% goes to a landfill unopened.
  • Lists of names and addresses used in bulk mailings are in mass data-collection networks, compiled from phone books, warranty cards, and charity donations (to name a few).
  • Your name is typically worth 3 to 20 cents each time it is sold.
  • $320 million of local taxes are used to dispose of unsolicited mail each year.
  • It costs $550 million yearly to transport junk mail.
  • Shocking, isn’t it?  Especially the one about the cost of disposal of AOL CDs. Did you know there is a grass roots campaign out there just to try and stop AOL from mailing out their free disks?  I love what the web can do. 

    Quote from Dave Barry:  "I like to cheer myself up by pretending that my mail actually screams when I throw it into the wastebasket."


    Bunny Freidenker

    I’d like to know how this firm can reduce the amount of junk mail I receive, but I’m more interested in eliminating it completely. I will not be content simply to have no junk mail in my own mail box again, either. I want this perverse system that makes it profitable for unscrupulous organizations to destroy 100 million trees every year, just so they can lure a tiny percentage of the people to buy stuff from them, to stop!
    And you know what? There is a very simple way to make it stop. It doesn’t require anyone spending any money, or getting any legislation passed. Here’s what you can do:
    Every time you receive junk mail that contains one of those “business reply mail” envelopes (the ones with the bar codes all over them), then you take every piece of paper that was sent to you, including the outer envelope, tear it into pieces, and stuff it back into the return envelope. Then drop it in a mailbox. Do you know what happens when you do this? Every time someone returns one of those envelopes, the company who sent it gets charged for the postage. Now, since they don’t realistically expect more than one in about ten thousand of those things they send out to come back, and moreover they expect the ones that do come back to make them money, they can afford to send out so many. But what if you start returning them, and you tell all your friends, and they tell all their friends? If enough people did this, then it would no longer be affordable for these people to send out this junk mail, at least not with postage-paid envelopes. The only reason that they send those in the first place is that they know that people will be less likely to buy stuff if they have to put a stamp on something.
    So, if you’re like me, and you’d like to see this travesty stop, then please start doing this and advise everyone you know to do it to. Make sure you tear each piece of paper, so that it can’t be reused for another mailing. This will not only make it unaffordable for companies to pay the postage, it will also make disposing of the waste paper their responsibility, not ours.

    Ramsey Fahel

    Do Not Mail Opt-Out Law would be fair to everyone.
    The proposed statewide “Do not mail” is an Opt-Out law. Only those not desiring advertising mail need opt-out. Anyone desiring advertising mail can do nothing – and continue to receive it. Why deny those wishing to avoid advertising mail the power to do so?
    I do not consider handling unwanted advertising placed against my will on my personal property to be a civic obligation!
    The US Supreme Court said in the Rowan case in 1970, ““In today’s [1970] complex society we are inescapably captive audiences for many purposes, but a sufficient measure of individual autonomy must survive to permit every householder to exercise control over unwanted mail. To make the householder the exclusive and final judge of what will cross his threshold undoubtedly has the effect of impeding the flow of ideas, information, and arguments that, ideally, he should receive and consider. Today’s merchandising methods, the plethora of mass mailings subsidized by low postal rates, and the growth of the sale of large mailing lists as an industry in itself have changed the mailman from a carrier of primarily private communications, as he was in a more leisurely day, and have made him an adjunct of the mass mailer who sends unsolicited and often unwanted mail into every home. It places no strain on the doctrine of judicial notice to observe that whether measured by pieces or pounds, Everyman’s mail today is made up overwhelmingly of material he did not seek from persons he does not know. And all too often it is matter he finds offensive.”
    Furthermore, the Supreme Court said, “the mailer’s right to communicate is circumscribed only by an affirmative act of the addressee giving notice that he wishes no further mailings from that mailer.
    To hold less would tend to license a form of trespass and would make hardly more sense than to say that a radio or television viewer may not twist the dial to cut off an offensive or boring communication and thus bar its entering his home. Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit; we see no basis for according the printed word or pictures a different or more preferred status because they are sent by mail.”
    We need a nationwide “Do Not Mail” law to create a one-stop, convenient place for homeowners to give senders the aforementioned affirmative notice that we do not want certain kinds of mail sent to our homes.
    Ramsey A Fahel
    Arvada, CO

    Ramsey Fahel

    US Postal Service won’t let you refuse mail.
    If the US Postal Service would abide by its own rule, each homeowner could easily stop junk mail from getting into their mailbox by putting a written notice on their mailbox expressing their preference.
    The US Postal Services practices are supposed to be according to the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM). The DMM contains provision 508.1.1.2 that says, “Refusal at Delivery: The addressee may refuse to accept a mailpiece when it is offered for delivery.” I interpret this rule to mean that if a homeowner wants to refuse an unwanted mailpiece (i.e. junk mail), the homeowner can do so when the mailpiece is offered for delivery. More to the point – refuse it before it is put into the mailbox!
    In practical application, since the postal carrier comes to homes at different times each day, the homeowner cannot be waiting at the mailbox to dialogue with the mail carrier about each mailpiece. The only realistic way to interpret 508.1.1.2 therefore is that the homeowner should post a notice on the mailbox telling the postal carrier about the homeowner’s preference. The notice to the postal service must be specific and unambiguous. For instance, a homeowner should certainly be able to write, “No mail that is not addressed to the Jones” because that does not require the postal carrier to make a subjective judgment. On the other hand, it would not be acceptable to write “no junk mail” because the definition of “junk mail” is subjective and the mail carrier cannot decide.
    Unfortunately, the US Postal Service has written to me that they will NOT honor a notice refusing mail, not matter how specifically it is worded, because the postal carrier does not have time to sort through the mail at my mailbox to pick out the pieces that are not addressed to me. Therefore, the US Postal Service is passing their sorting and disposing task onto me by putting all the mail they want into my mailbox, even though this seemingly violates 508.1.1.2.
    Since the U.S. Postal Service will not abide by 508.1.1.2, homeowners need to stop unwanted mail at the source (i.e. by blocking the sender from sending it). We need a nationwide “Do Not Mail” law to create a one-stop, convenient place for homeowners to give senders notice that we do not want certain kinds of mail sent to our homes.
    Ramsey A Fahel

    Jenny James

    Don’t waste your time with 41 pounds. The key word of your phrase, “a service that claims to eliminate 80-95% of the junk mail you receive,” is “CLAIM”. They actually send you postcards in the mail instead of doing what they “claim” to do: elimate junk mail. They talk about giving 50% of their profits to charity but they never give any more information than that. These two guys work out of their garage to offer, not a solution to your problems, but a total scam.
    A more trustworthy place to go is Greendimes. I’ve tried it and they actually get rid of your junk mail for only 10 cents a day. Major bonus, they plant a tree for you monthly! If that’s not helping the environment, I don’t know what is… Here’s the link:

    Tim Pfannes

    To correct the untrue statements made in the previous postings…I’m a co-founder of 41 Pounds:
    Our service reduces household junk mail by 85-90% and lasts for 5 years – at a cost of $8.20 per year ($41 total). We stop most common junk mail such as credit card offers, coupon mailers, and insurance promotions, as well as the catalogs you specify (currently our record is over 250 catalog companies contacted for 1 subscriber).
    We’re proud to have raised more than $25,000 for environmental and community organizations in our short history – including Trees for the Future, American Forests, WildWest Institute, Friends of the Urban Forest and Habitat for Humanity (East Bay). When you sign up for the 41 Pounds service, we donate more than 1/3 of your fee to the nonprofit organization you select.
    41 Pounds was founded by my two brothers and myself in Ferndale, Michigan. We have lean, cost-effective operations, and we pass on that benefit to the nonprofit groups in the form of major donations every month.
    About doing it yourself — yes, you can do all the leg-work yourself to remove yourself from all the direct mail and catalog lists out there, but it will take you quite awhile. We contact 20 to 35 direct marketing companies and catalog companies and instruct them to remove your name from their distribution lists. We do it efficiently, and our customers tell us it’s worth every cent!
    If you have any questions about our service, please go to or feel free to contact me directly []
    Let’s all stop junk mail and save trees, water, energy, and time!
    – Tim


    Leave a Reply

    ParadeRachael RayInStyleCNBCFast CompanyThe Boston GlobeWomen's DayWGNToday