Did you know that the average household in the UK receives around 650 pieces of unwanted or “junk” mail each year? In north London this is equivalent to 18kg of waste per household, or over 12,500 tonnes.
North London Waste Authority is leading a drive to reduce the amount of unwanted mail stuffed into north London’s letterboxes this winter with the launch of a convenient new pack and webpage. North London residents can find out how to register to reduce the amount of junk mail they receive by visiting: http:.//www.nlwa.gov.uk/nojunkmail
Junk mail accounts for 4.4% of the UK’s annual consumption of paper and board, which is the same weight as 6.6 million trees. Disposing of the mail people don’t want leads to tonnes of waste paper that then needs to be recycled, or even worse is put in with the general rubbish – creating an extra expense for north London taxpayers. It also has implications for data protection – pre-filled application forms for things like credit cards could end up being sent to previous addresses long after you’ve left, which opens you up to fraud.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, Chair of the North London Waste Authority, said:
“Information about products and services put through our letterboxes is one of the key ways in which north London’s businesses and other organisations get in touch with residents about their services– that’s a good thing that helps keep our local economy flourishing. But not everybody may see it that way.
By giving residents the opportunity to cut down on the amount of unwanted mail sent in the first place, we can avoid unnecessary waste, avoid identity theft, be more environmentally friendly and save money. That’s why we’ve come up with five easy ways to do this.”
NLWA’s five easy ways to stop unwanted mail:
1. Get a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker. Place a no junk mail sticker on your letterbox to tell people delivering flyers you don’t want them hitting your doormat. Claim your FREE no junk mail sticker at http://www.nlwa.gov.uk/nojunkmail
2. Use the Mailing Preference Service (MPS). This is a FREE service to stop addressed mail being sent to you, where your details have been pulled off a mailing database. You can have your name and address removed from up to 95% of mailing lists. Over 143,000 north London households have already signed up to MPS. Register online at www.mpsonline.org.uk.
Registrations to stop unwanted mail are held at individual level, which means that it is possible to stop unwanted mail to one member of a household but not to others if that is what they choose. To stop unwanted mail to all members of a household, all individuals living in the household must give their names.
3. Use the Royal Mail Opt Out service. To stop all unaddressed mail distributed by Royal Mail's Door to Door scheme you can register free of charge with Royal Mail's Door to Door Opt Out.
Email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Royal Mail will then send an opt-out form to your address, which you must sign and return. Once you’ve returned this form, Royal Mail will stop delivering unaddressed items to your address within 6 weeks.
4. Avoid joining new mailing lists. Be sure to tick the opt-out box on forms including your electoral register form to stop your address being passed on.
5. Return unwanted mail. Write 'Return to sender' on the envelope of the unwanted mail you receive and put it back in the post unstamped.
John Mitchison, Head of the Mailing Preference Service said:
"When advertising mail is done well it can be beneficial to people to make them aware of products and services in which they're interested, as well as offer them exclusive offers and price discounts. Of course, badly targeted and irrelevant mail is unnecessary and can be a nuisance to householders. Signing up for schemes such as the Mailing Preference Service and Royal Mail's Door to Door will help you to cut the amount of unwanted advertising mail you receive."
For more useful hints and tips on how you can reduce waste at home and save money and the environment, visit NLWA’s dedicated waste prevention web pages for north London homes and businesses at http://www.nlwa.gov.uk/waste-resources