you’ve got mail

I love mail. One of my favorite things is checking the mailbox each day. It keeps me subscribing to magazines. It inspired a few friendships to turn into penpalships.

But now that I’m a big kid, I get so much junk mail. If I get one more pre-approved credit card letter, I’m going to papercut someone’s eyeball. (Then again, there’s that thing where I’m like, “But what if I want another credit card? How would I get one?” Bad, Megan. Bad.)

I’m trying to convert us to electronic billing, but Joe & I both have an awkward attachment to handling bills & writing checks. Not to mention Joe has a serious loyalty to the Post Office. Forever stamps forever! Wanting the bills, the important mail, makes me feel doubly bad about the junk mail.

For instance: I took a New Yorker survey. I now get offers for free gifts & discounts onevery Condé Nast publication. These are things I absolutely do not want. And while I feel good about recycling them, I’d feel better if they just never bleached & glued the paper to begin with.

So, what’s a young married couple to do? There are some options.

41pounds is the most prominent answer. For $24, you get their junk mail-stopping service for five years. That’s so many days without a pesky Capital One offer! Why “41pounds”? Because the average American adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. That means that “the pulp and paper industry is the single largest consumer of water used in industrial activities in developed countries, and it’s the third-largest industrial greenhouse gas emitter (after the chemical and steel industries).”*

Don’t want to pay for the service? Check out the Direct Mailing Association’s DMAChoice, which gets you out of loads of offers & letters by helping you change your mail preferences. Or, take a second to actually open that junk mail & contact some organizations.

While I love getting those free address labels, getting multiple magazines, newsletters & letters from the same nonprofit, times loads of nonprofits really frustrates me. I can’t help but see it as a waste. It’s time to be proactive. Let’s do it: let’s contact the organizations, thank them for their wonderful work & ask them to remove us from their mailing lists. Let’s thin out those mailboxes & get straight to the good stuff. It’ll be like skipping the salad & going straight to the French silk pie. But the pie is good for you.

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About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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