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Enviro-Mental: How To Get Rid Of Junk Mail In 7 Minutes Or Less

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Few things make me more "enviro-mental" than junk mail. While the numbers vary from source to source, it's confirmed that each year hundreds of millions of trees are cut down for unsolicited mail. Add billions of gallons of water for paper production and you've got environmental assault.

Global warming aside, I'm getting sick of sorting through piles of useless coupons, credit card offers and sweepstakes. The catalogs are the worst--can someone please tell me why I receive catalogs for Male Big & Tall, Omni Cheer, and UPCO Bird? I am neither plus-size male, nor cheerleader, nor bird enthusiast.

Fed up, I've embarked on a quest to get these hawkers off my back. Join me by following these 3 steps. It'll take you less than seven minutes (I've timed my friends and family) and you'll feel good for saving the trees.

1. Put the kibosh on catalogues

When you buy something from a catalog, your transaction is likely to be reported to Abacus, owned by DoubleClick Digital Advertising, who sells, rents, and whores your information to additional catalog companies and publishers.

Stop catalogs by emailing Abacus Catalog Alliance optout@abacus-direct.com. Just say, "leave me alone you dirty catalog company," and don't forget to include your first, middle, and last names, current address, and if you've moved recently, your previous address.

2. Cease solicitations

They may seem innocent, but common companies often sell your personal spending information to credit bureaus. Credit bureaus use the information to create lists based on consumer characteristics (i.e. income brackets, spending habits, boxer-briefs preferences) and rent them to marketers, credit card and insurance industries in search of specific demographics.

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA, 15 USC 1681) and some states' laws require credit-reporting companies to honor consumers' list-removal requests. Call 1- (888) - 5OPTOUT or (888-567-8688) and tell the credit bureaus to leave you in peace.

3. Stymie fliers, sweepstakes, and useless product offers

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), funded by marketing companies, is a lobbying group that collects and distributes consumer information to its members. Indirectly, they're responsible for those disheartening sweepstakes and lets be honest, I have a better chance of marrying Prince William than winning a million dollars and a bunch of balloons from Publishers Clearing House.

The DMA is required by law to respect consumer's list-removal requests. There is, however, a $1 removal fee. Infuriating! You can register for their "do not mail me" list.

Follow the above three steps and within six weeks you'll see a significant decrease in junk mail; bear in mind floaters and local flyers will manage to sneak through.

If "decrease" doesn't cut it, if you aim to dismember, slay, and bury the junk mail beast, you'll have to put in more time--a lot more--than seven minutes. For watertight protection, visit Junkbusters, a virtual armory of junk mail weaponry, even the most obscure leaflets, brochures, and take-out menus can't break.

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