Environmentalism: Junk Mail

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For those people living outside the UK who may not know, The Royal Mail, our national postal service, is a private company. It has been for a few years now. Unfortunately this means as a commercial entity they’ve opted to begin delivering un-addressed junk mail with the standard letters in our morning post.

Since the number of letters that land on our mats each day has dropped, you mightn’t have noticed. It's important to remember that junk mail is made from paper, and printing in volume creates an enormous amount of waste. If you’re anything like me, you probably bin it all. On principal I won’t read it because I don’t think I should ever be sent marketing in such an environmentally unfriendly way. I also don’t like the idea of having advertising forced into my home without my consent! I should be able to choose if I want it, and thankfully, you can, thanks to a little-known form and five minutes of your time.

For those of you who like me want to stem the tide of paper waste here is how you opt-out:

The Royal Mail service that delivers all this junk is called “Door to Door”. According to their website It reaches over 29 million households. Think of all that wood pulp and the chemicals used to make inks being wasted!

Unfortunately the Royal Mail have made it difficult to opt-out, because they simply don’t want it to happen. There isn’t a simple form, and we need to print out (more paper wastage) a PDF form, fill it in, and send it via Freepost to stop the junk mail. You can download the form by clicking here.

Note: It takes about six weeks before the service begins and the junk mail stops. Opting-out also only last two years, so it might be useful to set a reminder for two years’ time on your phone to renew. All you have to do is print another form.

To further reduce the wastage, you could encourage neighbours on your street to opt-out as well. Mass un-subscription is the best way to tackle the problem. I’m certainly going to encourage our neighbours to do the same!

Naturally this only stops junk mail delivered by the Royal Mail, not all junk mail. If you want to stop hand-delivered junk mail, you’ll need to place a sticker on your letterbox, although they can look a little unsightly and unfriendly. Another method is to use the Mailing Preference Service (MPS), although again that only stops junk mail from providers that read the MPS lists and honour your decision.

Now go for a pleasant walk and post that form!


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