Thursday, 3 February 2011

Junk Fail

Apologies if I have ranted about this before, it's a particular beef of mine that has seen little sign of improvement despite my best effort over the past year. You see yesterday we did a bit of a pre Spring Clean, a blitz about the house mopping, scrubbing, re-arranging and mammoth recycling. Our Kerbie boxes are busting at the seems, as are our wheelie bins and the worst part of it? Most of the paper waste isn't even ours.

The level of junk mail, flyers and periodicals we receive to our house is quite frankly ridiculous, made even worse by the fact that most of it is either unsolicited rubbish, or documents pertaining to previous occupants. On a weekly basis I'd say that we receive approximately 20 items matching the junk mail description that we ourselves haven't signed up for. Then there is the additional paper guff that our bank, phone company et al send out, despite the vast majority of our business being conducted online.

I've tried return to sender, yet still they come. Unfortunately this is down to laziness and bad manners on behalf of the previous tenants, who even after 6 months still tried their luck calling around our house for an 'important document' that they had forgot to change the address from. Sadly they were out of luck. We kept their mail for 3 months after moving in, something I think was even generous by most standards, but simply couldn't keep storing it after that. It's not as if they even left a forwarding address. And to make matters worse, much of the stuff we get for them, and others before then, doesn't look like junk, much of it appears to bills and bank documents. Most goes into recycling, but sadly there is a portion of which comes in the traditional manilla window envelope that out recycling company doesn't treat at present.

Yesterday I read an article from US site GOOD concerning the fact that the Yellow Pages have re-launched their 'opt out' service online and provide information on disposal and recycling of their book. I've had a quick look and their doesn't seem to be a UK equivalent so far, but you can cancel via a site called that allows you to opt out of the following:
  • Royal Mail's Door-to-Door
  • Your Choice Preference Scheme for Unaddressed Mail
  • Mailing Preference Service
  • Yellow Pages
  • Thomson Local
  • BT Telephone Directory
Now this is a start and can help reduce some of your junk mail issues. However I think it is tragic that something like the Yellow Pages, something only occasionally useful, with many online alternatives and something many of us put straight in the bin is 'opt out', while something infinitely useful and vastly important to society on the whole such as the Organ Donor registrar is 'opt in'. Somehow I can't get my head around that.

Image: Arvind Balaraman /

1 comment:

  1. I think it is shameful that large companies like virgin and sky are still using direct mail advertising. CSR?