Tidying Up with Your Conscience: Papers

The 4 R’s of sustainable living: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


Step 1: Stop the Madness

  • Remove your name from mailing lists through DMA Choice– due to high demand there is now a $2 processing fee to have your name removed (yes it is backwards… call your representatives to complain!)

Step 2: Credit Card Solicitation

  • call 1-888-567-8688 or go to Opt Out Prescreen to choose to opt out for 5 years or for life. You can continue to get your banks credit card solicitations by asking to be put on your bank’s “in house” list which is not sold or distributed to other companies

Step 3: Google is the New Phone Book

  • Go to Dex and click on the link toward the bottom of the screen that says “Go from Yellow to Green Opt-Out of Phone Book Delivery”

Step 4: Donation Solicitations

  • If you know what charities you want to support, you can ask them to only send you one donation solicitation a year. Charity Watch has some good pointers on how to go about getting this done

Step 5: Actual Junk Mail

  • From Ecocycle.org- If you’ve had it with companies sending you mailings or promo products you don’t want, there is an option. First, look for any of the following phrases: return service requested, forwarding service requested, address service requested, or change service requested. If you find any of these phrases, write “refused, returned to sender” on the unopened envelope. Mail sent to “Resident,” “Current Resident,” or “Current Occupant” can be refused if it contains one of the above endorsements, or is sent First Class.  When you receive unsolicited promo products, you can mark the envelope “Return to Sender” and put it back in the mail.

Step 6: The Final Mail (Nail) in the Coffin

  • Follow these instructions to finally be free from your pile of papers! Make sure to indicate the following when reaching out to each of these organizations- “Please remove my name and address from your mailing lists and do not rent, sell or trade my name or address.”

1 Valpak Ave. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716


Have the Valpak mailing label handy and fill in your information exactly as it is printed. If you like coupons but don’t want to receive all that mail, go to http://www.valpak.com to choose and print coupons by geographical location.

Valassis Direct Mail, Inc. 
Consumer Assistance
PO Box 249
Windsor , CT 06095
1-800-437-0479, between 8:30 and 5:00 EST
Unsubscribe from their RedPlum publication here: https://www.redplum.com/tools/redplum-postal-addremove.html

Epsilon Data Services
Abacus Cooperative Databases
Send an email with “remove” in the subject line and your full name, including middle initial, and address in the message. If you changed your address over the past six months, include your previous address as well.


This is the part that Marie Kondo has helped you with and the inspiration for this series of blog posts!


  • Shred it
    • use as packing filler when shipping items
    • use as basket filler for Easter
    • use to layer your compost
  • Make your own paper!
    • I did this last year for everyone’s tags on their Christmas presents, it was very simple and they could even plant the paper tags instead of throwing them away!
    • You’ll need a blender or food processor, wire mesh (I used a window screen at first) and water. Some optional items could be cookie cutters to shape the paper, flower petals to add texture and design, and seeds to make seed paper.
  • Business Cards
    • I love this idea! Think about it, each piece of junk mail already has your name and all of your contact information- just add some glue or sew it together to make a unique impression!
you can use heavier weight flyers you receive in the mail as the backboard and sew your info from the address on the mail to the front!


So at first I thought that this section would be rather self-explanatory but it turns out there are some not well-known paper recycling hacks we should all brush up on! I found these tips at Earth911.com

  1. Avoid getting paper wet, as this significantly reduces the recycling market. If your curbside program accepts all materials in the same bin/cart, empty your containers before tossing them in so they don’t drain on your paper. If there’s rain in the forecast, wait until the morning of collection to put your bin at the curb.
  2. If possible, use a black marker to remove sensitive information instead of shredding paper. Ink is easily removed in the recycling process, but shredding paper reduces the fiber lengths, making it more difficult to recycle into new paper.
  3. Verify what types of paper are accepted in your area, as some communities only accept certain grades. Definitely check to see if your community accepts paper lined with plastic, such as frozen food boxes and cartons.
  4. In the case of boxes (cardboard and paperboard), break them down to save room in your recycling bin.

2 Comments on “Tidying Up with Your Conscience: Papers

  1. Pingback: Tidying Up with Your Conscience – Altered Eco

  2. Pingback: Tidying Up with Your Conscience – Altered Eco

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