6-step Guide: How To Opt Out Of Junk Mail

Picture of scatter junk mail
Junk mail can be annoying. Follow this guide to opt out of junk mail in 6 easy steps.

Looking for the best way to opt out of junk mail? We created a very easy 6-step guide for you to follow and stop most of the junk mail you receive. Most of the solutions here are free. We included two paid options available out there, but the free ones alone should reduce a significant amount of mail too. Start today and get rid of junk mail.

Step 1: Stop Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers
Step 2: Register at CatalogChoice
Step 3: Opt-out of mail from larger organizations
Step 4: Opt-out of top 3 coupon mailers
Step 5: Register on National Do Not Mail List (privately owned list)
Step 6: Opt-out from individual companies

Step 1: Stop Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers

Prescreened, prequalified or preapproved offers mean the same. Credit and insurance companies prescreen consumers who are more likely to accept and get approved. These companies partner with consumer credit reporting institutions such as Experian, TransUnion and Equifax to identify eligible consumers. These consumer credit companies have created an official website for consumers to opt-in or opt-out of receiving prescreen offers. It’s free to use. You can either opt-out for five years from these offers or you can opt-out permanently.

To opt-out for five years, you can either visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).

To opt-out permanently, fill an online form on www.optoutprescreen.com and then mail the Permanent Opt-Out Election Form to the opt-out department. The website will provide you the form and the opt-out department’s address once you start the request. Unfortunately, you cannot opt-out permanently online, via call or other medium. As per the website, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that the consumer submit a signed notice of election (Permanent Opt-Out Election form) for a permanent Opt-Out request.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers can opt-out through their website or by calling 7-1-1 and referring the Relay Operator to 1-800-821-9631.

Note: Opting-out via optoutprescreen.com will opt you from most prescreened solicitations. However, you may continue to receive prescreened mail from companies who other consumer credit reporting companies. But do not worry. We have a few more solutions that should cover for stopping most of the junk mail you receive.

Step 2: Register at CatalogChoice

CatalogChoice, a non-profit organization has been helping consumers opt-out of catalogs and other junk mail since over 8 years. They have a database of about 10k advertisers and mailers you can opt-out from. The website is free to use, but they accept donations.

Step 3: Opt-out of mail from larger organizations

DMAChoice is a nonprofit organization that is helping consumers opt-out from paper mail. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), an association that brings the marketing community together, created the DMAChoice opt out tool to address consumer concerns over junk mail. The website will opt you out companies who are members of the ANA. DMAChoice is also a recommended opt-out solution by the FTC.

Register online and opt-out: Once you register on their website, you can opt-out from individual companies or entirely from different categories of mails such as credit offers, catalogs, magazines or other mail offers such as bank offers and retail promotions.

Mail-in registration and opt-out: If you cannot register online, you can fill out the DMAChoice Mail In Form, print it and mail it to their address.

Opt-out without internet access:

If you don’t have access to internet, you can register by sending your name and address (with signature), along with a $3 processing fee (check or money order payable to DMA) to their address:

DMAChoice
Consumer Preferences
P.O. Box 900
Cos Cob, CT 06807

Note: You have to pay a $2 fee to opt-out through DMAChoice. DMAChoice opt-outs are valid for 10 years. This solution doesn’t guarantee zero junk mail but will stop mail from a lot of bulk direct mailers and businesses listed here. Opting-out via mail doesn’t let you opt-out by different categories and companies.

Step 4: Opt-out of top 3 coupon mailers

Valpak: You can fill out this form to opt-out

RetailMeNot or RedPlum: You can fill out this form to opt-out

Money Mailer: You can call 714-889-4609email or mail your opt-out request to:
6261 Katella Ave, Suite 200, Cypress, CA 90630

You can opt-out of Money Mailer via CatalogChoice as well.

Step 5: Register on National Do Not Mail List (privately owned list)

The government owns the national “Do Not Call” list, but a private company (directmail.com) owns the national Do Not Mail list. Many companies honor this opt-out list before mailing. Fill this form to add yourself to the National Do Not Mail list.

Step 6: Opt-out from individual companies

After you go through Step 1-5, it will take about 3 months until you see reduced junk mail. After 3-4 months, if you are still receiving mail from specific companies, you may have to contact these companies individually. We put together a list of the largest direct mailers and how you can request opting-out from each of them.

Comcast or Xfinity: You can fill out this form to opt-out. Comcast customers can also change their communications preferences via Comcast My Account portal. You can also call them at 1-800-Xfinity (800-934-6489).

AT&T, DirectTV or U-verse: Call +1-800-288-2020. AT&T is also a member of ANA (DMAChoice). If you complete Step #3, you should be opted-out from AT&T mailings.

Spectrum: You can fill out this form to opt-out. You can also call them at 1-855-75-SPECTRUM. Spectrum (owned by Charter Communications) is also a member of ANA (DMAChoice). If you complete Step #3, you should be opted-out from Spectrum mailings.

State Farm: You can fill out this form opt-out.

Geico: You can fill out this form to opt-out.

Dish Network: Scroll all the way to the bottom on this page and submit the form under “Do Not Mail Policy” section.

For those not on budget: PaperKarma is a mobile app that helps you opt-out from junk mail. All you have to do is take a picture of the mailer you want to opt-out from and they will do the rest. PaperKarma is a paid service, but they offer a 4-week free trial.

Bulk mailings based on zip codes

The above solutions will reduce your junk mail by over 90% but not a 100%. You may continue to get mails typically addressed as “To resident at” or “To occupant at” or “Neighbors at”. Companies send such bulk mailings based on zip codes and don’t look at specific names or addresses. Hence, these don’t honor any opt-out lists. Grocery flyers also fall in the same category. The good part is that you can easily recycle any remaining mail you receive.

Opt back in when your needs change

Once you successfully opt out of junk mail, here’s something to consider. Opting-out of junk mail completely can block your access to great offers that can save you money. For example, a lot of lenders offers offer preferred interest rates for prescreened customers. If you have opted-out of prescreened offers and are in sudden need to credit, you may not have access to those rates when needed. As your needs change, don’t forget to opt back in to the offers you may interest you.

We are taking an unconventional approach towards tacking junk mail. Instead of opting-out of mail completely, we have another innovative solution for you. We are building an app where you can receive your mail offers digitally and earn cash rewards for saving trees.

Sign up below and be the first to know:

How to recycle different types of mail (with pictures)

Mailbox in Front of a House

You may receive a lot of junk mail every week. Advertisers are also becoming smarter about using distinct types of paper and envelopes to grab your attention. You are at the right place if you are confused about recycling different types of mail. Sorting through the mail and destroying sensitive information can also be a pain, but recycling it is not. You can easily recycle most of the mail you receive. You just need to take a few precautions.

The mail recycling guide below covers for all types of mail such as credit card offers, insurance offers, local restaurants flyers, charity solicitations, campaign mailers, catalogs, and magazines.

Different types of junk mail in your mailbox and how to recycle them:

Regular paper and envelopes:

This category is simple. You can recycle letter or envelopes made of regular paper. You can also recycle letters made of thicker material such as card stock. The next category will guide on paper envelopes with plastic windows.

Envelopes with plastic windows:

You don’t have to remove the plastic window from the envelope, but it’s better if you do. Removing the plastic window can make recycling more efficient. Paper recycling centers go through a sorting process where they sort out unwanted material such as stapler pins and plastic. However, that process may not filter all the plastic leading to low-quality recycled paper.

Picture of an envelope with plastic window
How to recycle envelopes with plastic windows?

Glossy envelopes and paper:

Glossy envelopes and paper are recyclable. However, if they have a plastic coating, they may not be recyclable. A simple way to check whether your glossy paper or envelope is recyclable is to do the “tear-test”. If it’s easy to tear the paper, you can recycle it. You may think glossy paper has plastic mixed in it. However, the clay content and calendaring (a process in paper-making) are what make the paper look glossy.

Mailers from Valpak, RedPlum, Money Mailer, and RetailMeNot would go in the recycling bin too.

Plastic padded envelopes or bubble envelopes:

A bubble envelope mainly comprises two materials: paper and bubble cover. To properly recycle bubble envelopes, just separate the bubble cover from the paper. Then you can recycle the paper separately from the plastic.

Picture of a bubble envelope
How to recycle plastic padded envelopes or bubble envelopes?

Catalogs and magazines:

You can recycle catalogs and magazines along with the regular paper. If your catalogs and magazines came with a plastic cover, remove the plastic cover before recycling. Make sure you remove any add-ons such as product samples, stickers, plastic cards, or plastic windows before recycling.

4 important things to know before you take off for recycling your mail

1. Don’t mix shredded paper with regular paper:

Shredded paper’s fiber is too short for recycling at most recycling centers. Some centers can recycle shredded paper, but it requires special techniques and processing. Shred your paper only if you need to. If you have a lot of shredded paper, you either use it as compost or check if local recycling centers accept shredded paper. If you plan to take it to a local recycling center, make sure you pack it properly so that the paper doesn’t fly loose.

2. Don’t recycle plastic cards and address labels:

Remove plastic cards such as fake credit cards from the mail before recycling. Check for address labels too. Address labels are the one’s charities insert hoping that you will mail back donation. You can either recycle these items along with plastic or trash them depending on the kind.

3. Don’t recycle wet paper:

Once a paper becomes wet, its damaged fibers make it unfit for recycling. Wet paper can also cause contamination in the recycling process. Please handle the mail carefully and keep the paper dry. If you store your junk mail along with cardboard boxes in the backyard, remember to move the mail indoors if it may rain.

4. Paper with food or grease residue can affect recycled paper quality:

Mixing greasy paper that has food stuck to it with clean paper can affect the quality of the recycled paper. During recycling, machines mix the paper with water to form a slurry. Since oil doesn’t mix with water in the slurry, it can lead to the formation of bad quality paper pulp or unusable recycled paper. Paper mail with food residue can also cause bacteria or mold to grow on the paper. This can make recycling centers unsanitary for workers in the recycling center. Do your best to keep your mail clean, dry, and away from any food.

Why should you recycle mail properly?

Some data points below will provide a convincing answer and encourage you to recycle better. Poor recycling practices lead to more waste ending up in landfills. Paper and paperboard still account for 13% of landfill waste in America, according to the EPA. Recycled paper also requires about 60% of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp. Data suggests that an average American uses 700 pounds of paper every year, which is equivalent to 6 trees cut for every person in America. Every bit you do contributes towards reversing the damage that is being done.

What about the core problem: the existence of junk mail?

We have digitalized almost everything around us today. What about paper mail? It’s still the same. Less than 2% of paper mail is opened today. We use about 100 million trees every year just to produce junk mail. Factories that create and ship out junk mail are responsible for carbon emissions equivalent to about 9 million vehicles. Opting out of junk mail is a solution, but not an ideal one. Consumers should be able to access deals, coupons, and important communications all the time. Opting-out prevents a lot of consumers from receiving these communications. 

Instead of opting-out of mail completely, we have another innovative solution. We are building an app where you can receive your mail offers digitally and earn cash rewards for saving trees. Sign up below and be the first to know: