When I took a college business class, our teacher talked about all the "junk/unsolicited" mail we all receive. If you notice that most of it has a return address on it. He told us to cross out our names and put "return to sender" on it and the compnay that sent it has to end up paying the return postage for it. After a while they will hopefully quit. I do this all the time and it has worked. May seem like a pain but I hate junk mail and I'm gonna let them know it. Give it a try, you really have nothing to lose.
By Cheri from Garland, TX
If the junk mail that you receive has a return postage paid stamp on it, all you have to do is tear up the mail, put it back in the PRE-PAID POSTAGE envelope and mail it back to the sender. After a few of these mailings, they get the message and will NEVER send you their junk mail again. I have done this for over a month, and it is working. It was the post office that informed me of this action. Interesting, huh?
By Mary Pallister from California
I hate all the junk mail too but I now use it to my own benefit. Many times the inserts in junk mail are only printed on one side. I use it as free note paper. Many times there is an envelope inside as well and I save these in a drawer of my desk. They are handy to make a grocery list on the plain side and slip my coupons inside. I also use the envelopes to send lunch, field trip, etc money with the kids to school.
It really isn't all that terrible anymore to get the "junk mail" when I recycle it into free usuable items for my own use!
I used to do that, return the postage paid envelopes, and it does work to some extent, but many companies don't give up that easily. Most get a bulk rate on those postage paid envelopes, so it doesn't hurt them much. Although with the rising cost of postage it probably hurts more now than it used to.
Several years ago I started writing to the mail preference service, which made a huge impact on the amount of junk mail I received. I believe names stay registered for up to three years, though you do occasionally have to write again (in the instance of mispellings). And when I order something online, by mail, or even in person at a store, I let the company know that I don't want my name/address sold or rented to anyone else. Otherwise you wouldn't believe how quickly your name/address can circulate.
I also phone the overly persistant companies (those with toll free numbers) and tell them in person that I want to be removed from their lists. It takes some of my time, but the results are well worth the effort (and they end up paying the phone charges).
We rarely have junk mail in our box now.
The MPS used to be free, but I guess they now require $1 handling fee to process the request.
By Annie. (Guest Post) 06/29/2007
Not only do I send the junk mail back to the sender but I stuff the return envelope with all the junk mail I can fit in it and they end up paying the extra postage. That way I get rid of all the junk that came that day. I love recycling !
By Dean (Guest Post) 06/29/2007
I return the junk mail to sender but I tear it in half and enclose the part with my name and address so they know who returned it.I very rarely get junk mail.
By Susabelle (Guest Post) 06/30/2007
Putting "return to sender" on junk mail does NOT mean it goes back to who sent it. Bulk mail is not returnable, so when it hits the post office, they have the expense of disposing of it. And guess who pays THAT cost -- that's right, YOU AND ME in higher postage costs.
Don't waste your time and energy, throw the junk mail in the recycle bin and be done with it.
By Alison Arnott 06/30/2007
This works in the UK too...I get a great sense of satisfaction knowing that they are having to pay postage twice.
By Sharon (Guest Post) 07/03/2007
As A At Home Business Owner, I LOVE junk mail....I throw away the mail and use the postage paid envelopes and mail back with my advertisement in it! Business Cards, Flyers, ect. You never know who may open it and be interested in your business!
By Claudia- MD (Guest Post) 08/20/2007
I like the way you all think! My pet peeve is the business reply cards that they put in magazines- sometime 6-7 in one mag! I tear them out and stick them in the mail without 'filling in the blanks'- Or sometimes if I really get perturbed, I write "NO BRCs ! " on the card. And these companies don't get a sale and have to pay the postage. Even if I don't write anything, I'm sure they get the picture.
I also like to stuff one company's junk mail in another company's envelope. Let them do business with one another and leave me out of it!
Folks, while all this sending mail back to the companies might make you feel good at the time, you need to know that using their postage reply envelopes for anything other than a legitimate business purpose is a postal crime. Would you really like to be subjected to a lawsuit over something like this? Keep in mind - a few hundred dollars a month for people thinking like this is a tax write off and a big company does not even see it or care. Use the proper methods to get off the lists, opt out of lists when you sign up for everything you buy, call companies if you want, use the paper for scratch paper or shred it. I personally use the envelopes inside and out to file, save and sort small things going on at the time, give away things, etc. Kids love to use them to make their own play mail, too. Life is too short to get so worked up over junk mail!
By Cathy from Townsville, QLD (Guest Post) 10/05/2007
I've printed up a sheet of stickers saying "Return to sender and remove from mailing list'. That way, I don't have to write it again and again, just peel off a sticker and pop it on the envelope.
I have found that both of these suggestions (RTS and tearing up and returning the junk mail) are not as effective as contacting the company with a message that they must remove you from their lists (as per Federal law). Most times, the stuff I've returned to them just ends up in a waste basket and the junk keeps coming. The people opening these mailings don't care; they just toss them. And, if they don't stop, you have no recourse to force them to remove you but they have no choice if you've specifically stated, REMOVE ME FROM YOUR LIST because they face stiff penalties if they don't comply. This has worked for me for many years and I very rarely get junk mail.
1. If you're crafty you can make your own paper out of junk mail! http://www.kidsgardening.com/growingideas/projects/nov02/pg1.html
2. You could also cut the paper into strips and weave them into mats or bowls or baskets.
3. Paper Mache!!!
By (Guest Post) 01/31/2009
If you return to sender mail remove your information. I had a rubber "Return to Sender" stamp made to stamp my junk mail.The Post Office got mad and stopped my mail after returning my junk mail.
I handle this a little differently. I do not cross out my name and address. I do the exact opposite because I want the sender to know the returned mail is from me. I leave my name and address on the junk mail. There is always a little space for you to add additional information. In that space I write 'Please remove my name and address from your mailing list'. They have to pay return postage to get this message.
You're not going to stop junk mailers. That's how make a living. All you should want is to get your name and address off their list. It works for me.
I have been doing this for 50+ years. Everytime I have moved I started getting junk mail again, but after sending them back they stop. Good Luck
I'm with you Debbie52. I do the same (- using them for kids school... n/a at this time in life, all adults now :) It's kind of like, 'making lemonade out of lemons' along with just being plain, Thrifty. It's just where your mind goes! And I bet you're the first to spot a rainbow after a rain...and the one who stares with smiles.
I handle this a little differently.
The prepaid return envelopes belong to the company that sent them out; so, I return them. Our postal system says it is not making enough to keep running because we are not sending enough mail through the system. Bulk mail goes through for pennies on the dollar; but, prepaid envelopes cost the company almost double the cost of a first class letter. (I do not return any envelope with my name on it because I want them to keep supporting the post office). Since, I started doing this the amount of outgoing mail from my household has greatly increased.
The rest of the junk mail (after the envelope is returned) is shredded. This provides me with free mulch, packing material, and even heat.
I use the excess shreddings to make paper "bricks" which I burn in my fireplace/wood stove instead of wood. Very simple and easy to make (you can buy a brick maker that makes between 1 - 8 bricks (depending on which size you buy) at a time and it is free. I make bricks throughout the year and in the winter have plenty on hand.
So, love your junk mail and keep it out of the landfill.