Opting out of junk mail in the UK

I noticed recently that, as part of the resolution of the recent UK postal dispute, the unions agreed to the removal of the limits on the number of “unaddressed” post items they’ll deliver. It used to be capped at three items per week. Get ready for a deluge of crap. See the BBC news story.

junk mail image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/uzvards/2481348414/

In 2006 a postman was suspended for explaining to his customers how they could opt out of receiving junk mail.

Whilst I find it easy to put all of this unaddressed post straight into the recycling bin (plus anything that is an obvious sales flyer or to “the occupier”) is always irritates me that someone is wasting paper and the resources in this way. I decided to do something about it.

First off I registered my address with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). This cuts down on the junk mail that is specifically addressed to me. Next I went to the Royal Mail website to request my opt out of the unaddressed post. They make this as difficult as possible, requiring that you request the forms which they post to you, you fill in and return and “within six weeks” will get processed. They do this under the guise of “security verification” but it is obviously to try and minimise the number of people who do this and to allow them to continue to profit from profligate waste.

If you’ve got a few minutes spare I’d urge you to do the same. If you don’t believe in the whole “eco-lobby” thing, then why not just do it to deny a smug marketing arsehole the opportunity to insert themselves into your daily life? Surely that has merit just by itself?

Here are those links again:
Direct Marketing Association
Royal Mail Opt Out

[Update, you can download the Royal Mail opt out in PDF format.]

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One thought on “Opting out of junk mail in the UK

  1. I’m always annoyed by the amount of resources and paper that goes into junk mail that barely gets looked at and is immediately confined to the recycling bin. My family have always been great about recycling and we didn’t get that much junk mail in the UK.

    Since moving to Canada and having my own apartment and mailbox I’ve noticed one thing with regard to the post – there is a hell of a lot of junk mail! More so than in comparison to what I experienced in England. It’s mainly eateries because over here people eat out a lot more and on a regular basis so I guess it makes sense for them to grab our attention any way they can.

    From what I’ve seen the Canadian posties open up the metal grid concealing the mail boxes of the whole complex and proceed to distribute 3-4 unaddressed junk mail ‘letters’ every day in everyone’s mail boxes. Which takes quite while when there is a couple of hundred separate apartment in the building. I think it you were to leave your mailbox for a week it would literally overload.

    Now I’m not sure how to get out of receiving junk mail over here but a couple of weeks back I put a no junk sticker on my mailbox hanging from the inside, so they actually see it when they remove the whole panel. I love not having to clear through a bunch of mail to get to my good things like real letters and postcards and the important things which are not so good!

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