Date: 17 May
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ FREE
Action 137: Eliminate junk mail from your life
This is a way of preventing junk mail being posted to you by mass mailers.
This is great from the point of view of stopping trashy advertising and keeping your name off data lists. Even more importantly, it also contributes to a reduction overall in the use of paper, plastic, and trucking … all of which are great from our environmental perspective.
This article is based on how the Mailing Preference Service works in the UK, but there are similar schemes in other countries; to find out what is available in your are just search online for “stop junk mail”.
What is the Mailing Preference Service?
The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is a free service funded by the direct mail industry to enable consumers to have their names and home addresses in the UK removed from lists used by the industry.
It is actively supported by the Royal Mail (The Post Office) and all directly involved trade associations and fully supported by The Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
The MPS Consumer File is a list of names and addresses of consumers who have told the MPS that they wish to limit the amount of direct mail they receive.
Business have to use the file data to clean their databases of the names of people who do not wish to receive direct mail. It is a requirement of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing administered by the Advertising Standards Authority. It is also a condition under the Code of Practice of the Data & Marketing Association.
It won’t stop everything, but it is used by reputable organisations and it does work.
However, the service won’t stop mail from abroad or addressed impersonally to “The Occupier”, and you may still get mail from companies with whom you have done business in the past and perhaps from small, local companies.
How to register
It’s a very simple online process which starts at this link: https://www.mpsonline.org.uk/consumer/register
Why should I register?
The MPS was set up primarily to address privacy concerns and control annoying volumes of mail, in particular catalogues and similar sales mechanisms. However, from our eco-perspective, the big advantage of you registering is that it will substantially reduce the amount of paper that lands on your doorstep – the vast majority of which ends up being chucked in the bin – or the recycling bin if you are being good!
It’s an old green action we know, but stopping paper mail makes a lot of eco-sense:
- paper is made from trees, and we need trees as carbon sinks (natural CO2 capture)
- paper making and transport produces greenhouse gases and global warming
- making and shipping paper uses fossil fuels and other energy – it’s very heavy!
- it is an unnecessary cost, both to our economies and to us all as individuals
- printing unnecessarily also uses printer cartridges and toner, adding more costs
- printer toner is toxic and carcinogenic
- printer cartridges cannot be recycled, adding to plastic pollution
- the alternative is easy – electronic documents cost nothing to send – to anywhere in the world
Making paper is a water and energy demanding process. Firstly, trees are cut down and chipped into small pieces. Then huge amounts of water and heat, plus chemicals, are used to turn this into a fibrous “mash” to separate the wood into individual fibres. Yet more water is mixed in, sometimes along with recycled pulped paper and more chemicals, including bleaches. This slurry is sprayed onto a moving flat wire screen where water drains out, and the fibres bond together. The resulting mix is then pressed through heavy rollers to squeeze out more water and smooth the paper, which is then dried using heated rollers which use large amounts of electricity. Finally, the paper is trimmed and wound into massive heavy rolls which have to be transported for further processing, such as cutting to office standard sizes or the manufacture of packaging.
Other benefits of registering
- advertising mail is often packaged in plastic, so you will be reducing plastic use too
- glossy advertising materials are often non-recyclable
- your name is removed from databases, protecting your privacy
- lower risk of identity theft
- less material going into landfill or incineration plants
- reduces security risk when you are away – no unattended mail visible to burglars
- reduced pressure from sellers and charities on vulnerable people
If you are in the UK, click through now and register, it costs nothing!
If you are in another country, please check out what similar services exist there, and register if you can.
Let’s reduce the amount of unnecessary paper and plastic being poked through millions of letterboxes around the world.