10 Eco-Friendly Things To Do To Keep Your Mailbox Clean & Green

Say goodbye to junk mail for good ☘️

There’s no doubt that junk mail is annoying, be it paper mail or in your email inbox. But did you know junk mail also increases your carbon footprint? Here’s how –

According to the BBC, the carbon footprint of a single spam mail is 0.3g. On average, a person receives 2,850 unwanted emails every year from subscriptions, which are responsible for 28.5kg (63lbs) of CO2 emissions. This is because sending and storing these emails takes up energy, powered by fossil fuels.

Goodguilt / Canva

Similarly, around 3.7 million tons of marketing paper mails end up as waste, where they are either burnt or sent to landfills, according to the EPA. Hence, it is always better to get rid of junk mail. Unfortunately, it will not stop the production of these mails but will at least help you do good on your level.

How to have a clean inbox?

Here’s how you can get rid of junk mail to have a clean and green inbox.

1. Be careful when sharing personal information

Step one to not add more junk mail to your inbox is to be careful while sharing personal information like mail address or residential address. Whenever you are visiting a new website or downloading an app, or even just browsing while logged in to your mail; make sure you do not subscribe or agree to get any marketing emails, updates, or newsletters. Do not reveal your email address while filling up unnecessary warranty forms, etc.

2. Hit the unsubscribe button

You can do this by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the email itself. Another way is to check out the official website of the sender and opt out of mail subscriptions. Some websites also let you opt for only the important emails, by giving you this choice when you click the unsubscribe button. It will help you declutter your inbox, and at the same time, you will not miss out on important emails as well.

Get rid of junk mail by hitting the unsubscribe button
Goodguilt / Canva

3. Make a throwaway account

This is a great way to keep your account spam free. If you need to access a website that only allows you to continue after you give an email address; you can use services like TempMail to generate a temporary account. This way, you can keep your real account safe.

4. Use a spam filter

You can also set up filters that will help you remove all unwanted emails from reaching your inbox. Depending upon the email you use, you can actually customize these filters to send spam to a completely different folder and delete them, all at once. Although sometimes, important emails also end up in spam. So, make sure to give it a quick look before you send everything to the trash.

Spam mails
Goodguilt / Canva

5. Never respond or click; just block the sender’s address

This is similar to hitting the unsubscribe button, but instead of hitting the unsubscribe link, you simply block them from contacting you again. This helps stop any further communication from happening between you and the sender. Although other than the unsubscribe link, don’t click any links in the mail. This will result in you receiving a blast of emails, now that it shows your account is active.

Remember that keeping your emails unread or read in your inbox also adds up to your carbon footprint. So, if you’re looking to move towards a more sustainable life, a cleaner and greener inbox is surely an easy step ahead.

How to get rid of junk paper mail?

Other than the inbox, we also receive hard copies of a lot of marketing mails. The generation and delivery of these junk mails add to one’s carbon emissions, besides the fact that lots of it ends up in landfills unopened. So, it’s best to stop such junk mail. Here’re 5 ways to get rid of junk paper mail!

6. Put up a sticker

If you add a sticker that says ‘no junk mail or addressed mail only,’ it will help you reduce the amount of junk mail in your mailbox significantly. According to the Post Master General, the sticker means an official return to the sender. However, this will not stop the production of these junk mails, and also, not stop the ones addressed in your name.

Get rid of junk mail with stickers
Goodguilt / Canva

7. Use send back service or return envelopes

The best way to get rid of junk mail is by using the send back service or return envelopes. By using this service, you can send your unwanted mail back to the company. Besides, the service costs nothing on your end as you will get a pre-paid envelope from the sender. So, the next time you receive some junk mail, just use this service and send it back!

8. Register for an opt-out service

It’s the first thing to do. There are many services that help you opt-out of receiving junk mail. For example, DMA Choice. The organization represents the direct marketing industry and provides information about regulations and best practices for responsible direct mail marketing.

Here’s a list of websites where you can use the opt-out services
🌱 Prescreen
🌱 Catalog Choice
🌱 Yellow Pages

US household receives 850 pieces of unwanted junk mail per year
Paperkarma / Instagram

9. Use an app to get rid of junk mail

The opt-out services can sometimes take a while to start working. If you want quicker results, you can use apps like PaperKarma to quickly get rid of junk mail. With this app, all you need to do is to click a picture of the unwanted mail, and the app will unsubscribe you from receiving their paper mails.

10. Make a phone call

The companies that send out junk mail know they’re annoying; they’ll often give you a number to call that will take care of all your concerns. You can also opt-out online at the same time. If you do not receive a response from the company, or if you do not want to receive any more paper mail from them, then ask for an opt-out form. This is something that most companies must provide, upon request.

Once you fill out this form with information about what type of mail you do not want, put it in an envelope and send it back to the company. Wait for them to process your request, and you will then stop receiving their junk mail.

Ultimately, you’ll most likely have to resort to alternative measures if you want to get rid of junk mail for good. It’s always a good idea (and a green one!) to opt out as far as possible when it comes to advertising and direct mail. Getting rid of junk mail is a small yet significant step toward having a more sustainable and zero-waste lifestyle.

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