Junk mail, junk mail, go away

Last week I posted an entry about how to stop junk mail from insurance and credit card companies. Today, I come to you to share an awesome nonprofit organization I found out about that goes even further, also stopping catalogs, magazine offers, sweepstakes entries, ValPaks and more for five years.

41pounds.org was founded by three brothers in Ferndale, Mich., in 2006. Their goal is to stop junk mail and save the environment, saying the average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year and their service stops 80-95 percent it, because they contact 20-35 direct mail companies on your behalf. If we each get 41 pounds of junk mail a year, and stop it for junk five years, we’d each save 205 pounds of mail! Forty-four percent of that reportedly goes to landfills unopened.

By stopping the junk mail, deforestation, as well as other resources consumed for its production, will be greatly reduced.

According to 41pounds.org, “to produce and process 4 million tons of junk mail a year, 100 million trees are destroyed and 28 billion gallons of water is wasted. And, global warming gases equivalent to 9 million cars are produced.”

In addition to that, the site reports that catalog junk mail accounts for 8 million tons of trees harvested per year.

So by stopping junk mail, not only do we have less trash to worry about and possible identity theft to combat, but we can also help the Earth in a big way with little effort.

Besides all of these pluses 41pounds.org brings us, there’s yet another. There is a charge of $41 for the service provided. I know that’s not exactly a plus, but for all the legwork they save us, I think it’s OK. Not to mention, the service is guaranteed, even if you move or change your name. They’ll even contact all the direct mail companies again — free of charge — if you are put back on the lists.

But I digress.

The other positive to what they do is that more than a third of what you pay goes to the nonprofit org you choose. So how awesome is that? Get less junk mail, help the planet, give the people over at 41pounds.org a little work and help another nonprof at the same time.

There are several to choose from, not all of them environmental, but all good causes. I chose Grist, which is full of environmental news and commentary every day. Some others include EarthShare, Habitat for Humanity and Outward Bound.

Another great thing is that you don’t have to give your Social Security number, which other groups may request. 41pounds.org doesn’t work with groups that require Social Security numbers. For that, you’d have to opt out like I covered a few posts ago.

Because catalogs are not always part of what you might consider junk mail, you can choose which ones you want to be taken off the mailing list for and even add to it later.

Just like the opt out I called before, this can take a weeks to kick in. But like I said, it is guaranteed to work. After four months, you should see a noticeable reduction of 80-95 percent.

So now that I’ve sign up to opt out, I am supposed to get a packet of info in the mail, including postcards I have to sign for the companies that require signatures. I think I can handle that.

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