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Contact the Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

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Registering with the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) "do not mail" service is your first line of defense against unsolicited junk mail.

How to contact the Direct Marketing Association

  1. Visit the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) website and fill in the online form. For a $1 fee, you'll be registered with its Mail Preference Service, in which your name and address will placed on a “do not mail” list. You'll need to re-register with the DMA every five years.
  2. Alternately, you may print out and mail the form with a $1 check to the DMA at the address given on the website.

Contacting the Direct Marketing Association helps you go green because…

  • It can reduce your unsolicited mail by about 80 percent.[1]

The Direct Marketing Association boasts 3,600 member companies and nonprofits from the US and around the world that use direct-marketing techniques, including most of the companies listed on the Fortune 100.[2] Signing up for the DMA's Mail Preference Service is a good way to alert these direct marketers (and some non-members, too) that you're not interested in unsolicited mail.

Every year, each adult in the United States receives nearly 560 pieces, or about 41 pounds, of unsolicited mail. That's nearly seven times the amount of personal mail received (10.8 pieces of junk mail per week versus 1.5 personal letters). Even worse, approximately 44 percent of this unsolicited mail is carted to landfills unopened, unread, and unrecycled, costing US taxpayers $320 million each year.[3]

It's estimated that 100 million trees are used annually to produce all that junk mail.[4] In addition to loss of trees, processing all that paper requires 28 billion gallons of water.[5] What's more, creating and transporting this amount of mail results in more greenhouse gas emissions than 2.8 million cars produce in a year.[3]

Controversies

Contacting the DMA can be effective in stopping junk mail, but it doesn't stop all of it. That's because it's also only distributed to DMA member companies (though many non-member businesses use it, as well). Plus, it's entirely voluntary; in other words, direct marketers aren't required to check the list. Therefore, in addition to signing up for DMA's service, you may also want to also contact individual companies you do business with to let them know you don't want to receive unsolicited mailings. Unfortunately, the DMA doesn't offer a similar service for businesses that want to reduce their junk mail load.

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