A long time ago when I worked for the United States Postal Service in Alaska I made the mistake of making a passing comment to the postmaster about junk mail. Immediately she launched into a lecture about how I was lucky there was all that presorted standard mail (the postal service term for junk mail) because it paid my salary. She was right too, I mean probably 80% of the mail volume was stuff that nobody wanted. Most of it never even left the building before being discarded. Every day I would empty the garbages at the post office full of catalogs, ads, and credit card offers.
What if you could get out?
At great personal risk I am here to tell you about how you can get out from under the deluge of junk mail and reduce the environmental impact of all that paper milling, printing, and shipping.
Credit Card Offers
Did you know that the credit reporting companies sell your credit scores and information to credit card companies? That’s why you get all those offers for credit cards you don’t want in the mail. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act they are required to provide a way for you to opt out. You can opt out for five years by filling out a form on the website or you can mail in a form to them to be removed forever.
It feels like every other week we get another yellow pages book on the porch. We were shocked when we logged on to this site to find out that in our area seven different books are delivered. All of that effort and waste for something that’s totally obsolete. This is what we have Google for people.
The website provided by the Direct Marketing Association promises to “help you start getting the mail you want–and stop getting the mail you don’t.” It’s a little hard to navigate since they really don’t want you truly opting out, but they can help you choose which direct marketing materials you’re interested in (none of them for me).
Okay, I don’t have a way to make the bills go away. If anyone out there figures that one out, let me know. However, while you’re opting out of stuff, sign up for e-bills with your utilities, phone, internet, water, and bank. Besides not wasting paper, if you’re worried at all about identity theft, it’s the only way to go. Think about it: bank websites are all protected with 128-bit encryption and passwords, security questions, that safekeys picture thing, and so forth. With paper bills and statements, they’re only protected by a paper envelope and left in a box on your porch or on the street that anybody can open. If your bills and statements are all online your identity thief has to be a hardcore computer hacker to get you, with paper statements he only has to be able to open a mailbox.
Now doesn’t that feel good? You can save the planet and stick it to the man at the same time.
And if you haven’t entered the giveaway, hop on over to Monday’s post and leave a comment.